Home » Customs & Trade » Corporate practice in customs brokerage to be allowed?

THE House of Representatives has amended Republic Act 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004 to allow corporate practice in the customs broker profession. This is according to a PortCalls source who serves as one of the resource persons at congressional hearings on the measure.

“With the amendments, corporations will be allowed to customs clear through the employment of licensed customs brokers,” the source stressed.

If the amendment under House Bill 6063 is approved by the Senate, this would finally settle a long-running dispute between customs brokers and the logistics industry on whether customs brokers employed by corporations may be allowed to do business at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The measure is up for second reading at the Senate, where a public hearing is scheduled today (February 5).

Multinational corporations along with the logistics sector led by the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association and Aircargo Forwarders of the Philippines, Inc. are against the current prohibition, noting that it sends the wrong signals to the international market about making business in the country.

The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc and the Professional Regulatory Board for Customs Brokers, on the other hand, believe customs brokers employed by corporations should not be accredited by the BOC. They claim that the employer-employee relationship impacts on the objectivity of the employed customs broker.

The amendments will be forwarded to the Senate for the scheduling of bicameral hearings between both houses of Congress.

As of this writing, industry stakeholders could not be reached for comments on the supposed amendment.

RA 9280 enacted on March 30, 2004 regulates the practice of the customs broker profession. It also prohibits corporate practice of customs brokerage. Section 29 of the law provides that the customs broker practice is a professional service and as such, “no firm, company, or association may be registered or licensed as such for the practice of customs broker profession”. Section 28 also provides that no person shall practice or offer to practice the profession, or use the title unless one is a registered licensed customs broker.

Customs Administrative Order 3-2006-A, which operationalizes RA 9280 at the BOC, however, authorized customs brokerage corporations and freight forwar-ding firms to lodge customs entries and/or use their employee-customs representatives to transact business at the BOC.

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