BOC issues rules on registration of customs brokers

The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) has released guidelines on the registration of customs brokers and their representatives transacting with the customs agency.

Customs Administrative Order (CAO) 05-2019, signed by Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on April 26 and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on May 6, contains many similar rules from previous regulations, including the need for customs brokers who lodge and process goods declaration at the BOC to register and obtain a Certificate of Registration (COR) from the customs bureau.

Under the old regulations, brokers at the end of the application process were given a certificate of accreditation.

A new provision under CAO 05-2019 allows customs brokers who have formed a general professional partnership to apply for registration with BOC; this registration will be separate and distinct from the personality of each of the partners, who must be customs brokers.

CAO 05-2019 was issued to prevent smuggling and fraud, regulate the conduct of brokers transacting with the BOC, streamline requirements for registration of brokers and their representatives, and establish a registration information management system.

It implements Sections 1200 (Customs Brokers and Other Service Providers), 1226 (Supervision and Regulation of Third Parties), and other relevant provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), and RA 9280 or the Customs Brokers Act of 2004, and other related laws.

The order amends all previous issuances of BOC relating to the registration of customs brokers, and takes effect 30 days after publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.

Under CAO 05-2019, “A customs broker acting as a declarant shall be presumed to be the agent of the consignee or importer and as such may be made accountable and liable for any violation of the CMTA and other related laws.”

A customs broker employed by another customs broker and acting for his/her employer does not need to apply for a separate registration as long as his name appears on the notarized list of customs broker’s representatives that will be submitted to the BOC by the registered customs broker.

The customs broker’s representative authorized to act for the customs broker in the processing of entries, permits, and other customs documents related to the customs broker’s practice of his/her profession must possess minimum qualifications set under CAO 05-2019.

The Customs commissioner may limit the number of customs broker’s representatives to the number of transactions of every customs broker in each port. The access pass issued to the customs broker’s representative to get inside BOC premises must be surrendered by the employer customs broker to BOC in the event the registration of the latter in the bureau is revoked, cancelled, or expired.

“The customs broker shall exercise strict supervision and control over their representatives when following up transactions related to their customs practice,” CAO 05-2019 stated. It added that customs brokers shall be held “jointly and solidarily liable for any and all acts or omissions of their representatives which, in the exercise of their due and reasonable care and diligence, they could have foreseen or prevented.”

The Customs commissioner shall issue a customs memorandum order prescribing the procedure for the disciplinary action against customs broker’s representatives.

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