Does a customs broker need a certificate of accreditation from the BOC?
No. And this is the story.
After the passage of the Customs Brokers Act of 1994 [Republic Act 9280], the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs [BOC] with the approval of the Secretary of Finance, issued Customs Administrative Order No. 3-2006 [CAO 3-2006] which essentially requires the accreditation by the BOC of customs brokers who intend to practice before the BOC.
Bothered by the said accreditation requirement of the BOC, Daniel Flores, a duly registered Customs Broker by the Professional Regulatory Board for Customs Brokers, assailed the validity of CAO-3-2006 before the Regional Trial Court of Manila [RTC].
The RTC upheld the contention of Mr. Flores and nullified CAO-3-2006. The trial court ruled that the BOC Commissioner had no authority to issue rules governing the practice of the customs brokerage profession.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals [CA], the CA reversed the RTC ruling and declared CAO 3-2006 as valid.
When the case was elevated to the Supreme Court, the court ruled in the following tenor:
“ x x x. In other words, a large part of a customs brokers’ work involves practice before the BOC, and CAO 3-2006 practically compels all customs brokers – already certified by the PRC – comply with the accreditation requirement for them to practice their profession. This is contrary to the terms of Section 19 of RA 9280, which provides that a customs broker “shall be allowed to practice the profession in any collection district without need of securing another license from the [BOC].
Hence, based on the above-ruling of the Supreme Court, a PRC-certified customs broker need not secure an accreditation [from the BOC] before he can practice his profession with the BOC.
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