Customs brokers exempt from PPA accreditation for 3 years

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  • Customs brokers are exempt from the Philippine Ports Authority accreditation and permit requirements for three years instead of one year
  • The revised guidelines are contained in PPA Administrative Order No. 04-2023, which extended the validity of the Certificate of Exemption for licensed customs brokers from one year to three years from the issue date
  • The order took effect on June 27

Customs brokers are exempt from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) accreditation and permit requirements for longer — three years instead of one year.

The revised ruling is contained in PPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 04-2023, which extended the validity of the Certificate of Exemption (COE) for licensed customs brokers from one year to three years from the issue date. The order took effect on June 27.

Under AO 04-2023, instead of a non-refundable evaluation fee of P500, the COE processing fee will now be P500. PPA also introduced a P200 fee for replacement of lost or damaged COE, and a P300 amendment fee. These fees are value-added tax exclusive.

AO 04-2023 repeals AO 07-2019, which granted licensed customs brokers exemption from PPA accreditation requirement under AO 06-2019. The latter requires all port service providers to secure accreditation from PPA before the award of port services contract or permit to operate (PTO) is issued.

Under AO 04-2023, licensed customs brokers are exempt from securing accreditation and PTO provided they are engaged only in customs broking. But to avail of the exemption, they should secure a COE from PPA.

Instead of applying with the PPA port management office that has jurisdiction over the ports where the customs broker intends to provide services, the broker should now file for exemption at the Port Operations and Services Department at the PPA head office under AO 04-2023. The COE should be issued by the PPA general manager.

The COE is valid in all ports, including private ports, under the jurisdiction of PPA.

AO 04-2023 also added a condition in seeking exemption – that a customs brokers applying for exemption should not have an outstanding account and pending legal case with PPA.

Other conditions remain, such as customs brokers engaged in the provision of port service or port ancillary service are not exempted and are required to secure accreditation from PPA, and that customs brokers applying for a Permit to Occupy for the purpose of leasing an office within the port or while holding office inside the port are not exempted and should still comply with applicable PPA issuances.

Further, the customs broker is not exempted from port security/gate procedures and must secure pedestrian/vehicle pass. The COE should be used in securing pedestrian/vehicle pass.

For the documentary requirements, PPA is still requiring customs brokers to provide a photocopy of their Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) identification card and a certified list of regular clients served at the port, except now the latter has to be notarized.

AO 04-2023 has removed the requirement for a Certificate of Good Standing from the PRC and a reputable organization, such as the Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc.

The agency now requires a duly filled out and signed application form for exemption instead of a letter of request.

The PPA Board approved in 2019 customs brokers’ plea for exemption from accreditation under AO No. 06-2019.

CCBI earlier said customs brokers are not considered port service providers and that their profession “is not covered by the scope and coverage under Section 2 of PPA AO 06-2019.”

This is so, CCBI said, because customs brokers’ scope of practice “is clearly provided under Section 6 of Republic Act 9280, or The Customs Brokers Act of 2004, which is only associated with imported and exported goods under Customs jurisdiction.”

Last January, PPA issued Memorandum Order No. 02-2023 clarifying the exemption of licensed customs brokers from the requirements of accreditation and PTO as some in the profession were still unaware of their exemption. – Roumina Pablo

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