us broker integration

Customs IT integration: New US broker exams

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security published the Final Rule “Modernization of the Customs Brokers Examination". Traders should modernize, too.

Specifically, this new US rule transitions customs broker examinations from paper-based processes to a computer-automated customs broker examination. It also adjusts the dates of upcoming examinations to account for the fiscal year transition period and payment schedule requirements. Finally, it increases the examination fee to cover the administrative cost of delivering the exam from $200 to $390. 

Customs brokers generally offer customs clearance services for importers and exporters across industry sectors that outsource the management of customs formalities for goods traded across borders. Customs broker services involve the preparation of customs declarations and/or electronic submissions; the calculation and payment of taxes, duties, and excises; and the facilitating of communication between government authorities and importers and exporters. 

A person (an individual, corporation, association, or partnership) must hold a valid broker’s license and permit to transact customs business on behalf of others. An exam may be conducted to assess an applicant’s qualifications for a license. Title 19 CFR Part 111 sets forth the regulations regarding broker licensing and permits, the qualifications required of applicants, and the procedures for applying, including exam procedures and requirements. 

Before this new Final Rule of June 30, 2017, a US customs broker’s examination used a paper test booklet and scannable answer sheet provided by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). CBP supplemented OPM’s resources by providing CBP officials to proctor the examination and space to conduct the examination. The $200 administrative fee to take the examination had not changed since 2000 and did not keep up with the administrative costs of the paper-based examination as the costs of administering the examination rose. Under the new rule, this fee was raised to $390. 

In line with the new final rule, the CBP announced that the first electronic version of the official Customs Broker License Examination will take place on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. The examination will be given at various locations. Please visit the CBP website for further information and updates before the examination takes place. 

If you work with customs brokers to manage your customs procedures, this is a timely reminder to modernize the broker relationship on your end, too. With US customs authorities – and others across the globe – moving more and more customs procedures from paper-based to electronic processes and upgrading systems, it’s time to also integrate your customs brokers into your own IT environment. 

While governments modernize, what’s the status of broker integration on your end? 

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