I am a UPS employee and I agree with you that UPS brokerage fees can be a beatch (even though they are going into my pocket). I personally audit packages going TO the USA and sometimes I even have to open packages if the customer did not include the paperwork outside of the box.
Most of our work involves customs and brokerage. We have to pull documents from each shipment, scan them, send the scans to customs, and organize and count all shipments plus who did the auditing and who entered each packages' info into the UPS system. It's a lot of work, and so I understand why they need to charge so much. UPS will be your brokerage company if you do not indicate who you want to use. There are lots of brokerage companies and AFAIK you cannot do your own brokerage.
The big advantage to UPS is that your package arrives a lot quicker (if there are no border problems).
у нас в рязани грибы с глазами их едят они глядят