Purchases of products of foreign origin and manufacture on federally sponsored agreements must be allowable in accordance with the provisions of the Buy American Act. The Buy American Act also requires:
- purchases from foreign vendors be shipped via U.S. flag ship carriers
- competitive bidding requirements, when applicable, must be also be met
- written price quotations must be in English
- to avoid problems associated with fluctuations in currency exchange rates price quotations should be requested to be in U.S dollars with contractual payment terms for all payments to be made in U.S. dollars in accordance with the quoted prices
- the price quotation may be in the appropriate currency, but prices must be converted to U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate on the date of the price quotation on the requisition
Such requisitions must include the cost of each item shown in both the foreign currency and the U.S. dollars and specify whether the payment will be made in U.S. dollars or in foreign currency. If the payment is to be made in foreign currency the standard policy is to estimate the amount of the purchase order in U.S. dollars and issue the payment at the current conversion rate at the time the payment is made. Purchase orders are always committed in U.S. dollars. The requisition should also include the payment requirements; e.g., international draft or wire transfers. Wire transfer requests must include the complete name of the bank, the account number and the bank telephone number. UPS is the Office of Sponsored Program’s preferred customs broker who will clear the shipment with customs and forward it to Receiving for subsequent department delivery. Freight, U.S. Customs duty, and brokerage charges are generally not committed against the purchase order of any foreign purchase. Actual charges for these items will be paid upon receipt of the appropriate invoices.
Receipt of International Shipments
As with a purchase of goods, provide the foreign shipper the same shipping. Prepare and submit a requisition form to Purchasing covering customs and shipping charges. The requisition form must be made out to the customs broker clearing the shipment to cover all associated customs and shipping charges.
Requests for duty-free entry of scientific instruments or apparatus, if applicable, may be made. This should be done as soon as the purchase order is issued because it may take several weeks to obtain approval. All documents are available from either the university’s customs broker, UPS, or the U.S. Department of Commerce Business and Defense Services Administration & Treasury Department, Bureau of Customs. All documents are to be completed and submitted directly to customs by the PI. Purchasing should also be advised that duty-free entry is being requested.
In the event that the goods arrive prior to approval of duty free entry, the import tax may have to be paid in order to clear the shipment through customs. If duty free entry is subsequently granted, a credit for the duty paid may be requested.