At a recent meeting the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (COAC) provided an update on the status of CBP’s Role of the Broker initiative. As part of this effort CBP is planning to rewrite the customs broker regulations in 19 CFR Part 111 to (a) clarify brokers’ responsibilities related to importer validation and provide greater visibility of importers, (b) align with current electronic capabilities and business practices, (c) reinforce the broker’s responsibility to exercise due diligence in conducting business and (d) “professionalize” the customs broker by introducing a continuing education requirement.
CBP is currently conducting roundtables with local broker associations to discuss this issue, with 10 completed so far and another 18 slated through the end of September. During these roundtables CBP is asking questions covering three primary areas of interest.
Continuing education – Should licensed customs brokers have a continuing education requirement to ensure they are current on the latest customs issues, regulations and technology changes? What types of courses would provide brokers the best value and greatest professional enhancement? Other than traditional coursework, what other types of activities would be considered educational? How would small brokerages or importers with a sole broker on staff be affected by a continuing education requirement?
Bona fides – How can customs brokers enhance their relationships with their importers, particularly those who represent the greatest compliance risk (e.g., one-time importers and unknown importers)? How do brokers establish bona fides with their customers to ensure secure and compliant importations? How can CBP help brokers with the establishment of bona fides for their clients?
Broker permit pilot – CBP is exploring ways to better align the broker regulations with modern business practices. Among other things CBP would like to consider restructuring local permitting requirements to allow brokers to not have to host a local permit qualifier in every port in which they operate. Brokers who chose to take advantage of these more lenient requirements would have to demonstrate to CBP that they have a strong corporate plan to exercise responsible supervision and control over their customs business conducted in ports without a permit qualifier. If CBP were to pilot test a program that would change local permitting requirements, would brokers support this concept? How would small brokerages or importers with a sole broker on staff be affected?
CBP states that the feedback received on these issues will be summarized and presented during an Oct. 4 webinar. A proposed rule could then be drafted this fall or winter and published by late spring 2013.
Source: STR Trade Report