THE Port Users Confederation (PUC) is urging the Senate to immediately pass amendments to Republic Act 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004, claiming all sectors are already amenable to the law’s proposed changes.
PUC said it supported the Senate version as did customs brokers who backed the provisions which secured their role in the customs broker profession.
“We see no more problems in the Senate version and hopefully it will issue a resolution at the soonest time possible,” PUC president Dominador De Guzman told PortCalls.
The Lower House version is just waiting for the Senate version before bicameral hearings may be scheduled.
Congress goes on recess in June.
“I think this (Lower House and Senate versions) is a win-win solution for brokers and corporations since brokerage houses will not be able to transact with the BOC (Bureau of Customs) unless they engage the services of accredited customs brokers (to lodge and clear cargoes),” De Guzman added.
Under the House version, the sub-title of Sec. 29 has been changed to “Admission to Professional Practice” from the original “Prohibition Against Corporate Practice.”
The Senate bill carries the same title as the House version, but provides that corporations may hire the services of in-house customs brokers for purposes of accreditation by the BOC.
RA 9280, enacted on March 30, 2004, regulates the practice of the customs broker profession. It 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.
The amendments allowing corporations and customs brokerage houses to transact with the BOC but only through licensed customs brokers should have been introduced as early as 2007 but the bicameral committee failed to calendar the same due to lack of time. This, despite the amendments then being a priority for the Arroyo administration.