The need for services of Philippine customs brokers may diminish but not completely disappear with the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), said Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. president Dennis Del Pilar.
Under the CMTA, customs brokers’ services will be “optional but will not really be terminated,” Del Pilar told PortCalls in a chance interview. The CMTA was recently ratified by the Congress and is awaiting the signature of President Benigno Aquino III.
Customs brokers and customs administration students have expressed apprehension over the declarant provision of the measure which makes mandatory for two years the engagement of customs brokers as goods declarant but makes the same optional after that period. After the two-year period, the CMTA allows “a person duly empowered (by the importer or exporter) to act as agent or attorney-in-fact” to be the goods declarant.
Del Pilar said there’s “hope” for the customs brokerage profession just yet with brokers still retaining the responsibility for the accuracy of the goods declaration, as outlined in Section 107 of the CMTA.
He said he is sure multinational companies, as well as exporters located in economic zones, will continue to engage the services of customs brokers because of the complexity of the task involved in importing and exporting goods.
Customs deputy commissioner for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group Atty. Agaton Teodoro Uvero had also earlier said the customs broker profession will not die out once the CMTA is passed. “The reality of the situation is that the customs importation process is very a technical process and an importer will always require the expertise and advisory service of customs brokers to properly transact” with the Bureau of Customs, he said.
Uvero noted that customs brokers play a significant role in facilitating customs clearance and stakeholders’ compliance with the logistics requirements of imported goods.
The approved declarant provision is a compromise agreement. The Senate had earlier wanted a three-year mandatory use of customs brokers’ services while the Lower House eyed optional use of brokers’ services. – Roumina Pablo
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