CBP Proposes Modernization of Customs Brokers Regulations


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has published a Federal Register notice setting out the agency’s proposals for modernizing the customs brokers regulations to better align them with CBP’s technological advancements in recent years, such as the agency’s Automated Commercial Environment and Centers of Excellence & Expertise trade initiatives. 

CBP proposes to transition all brokers to national permits and to eliminate broker districts and district permits. 

In addition to transitioning to a national permitting system, among other changes aimed at further professionalizing the brokerage industry, CBP is proposing to:  

  • Update the responsible supervision and control oversight framework;
  • Ensure that customs business is conducted within the United States; and
  • Require that customs broker have direct communication with importers.

Additionally, CBP also proposes to raise the broker license application fees to recover some of the costs associated with reviewing the customs broker license application and conducting the necessary vetting for individuals and business entities.

Licensed brokers have traditionally been required to apply for and operate under a permit for each customs district in which they do business. Under changes proposed by CBP, brokers may now work under a single, national permit.

The current broker regulations are based on the district system in which entry, entry summary, and post-summary activity are all handled by the ports within a permit district. With the transfer in recent years of more trade functions to the Centers of Excellence and Expertise, a significant portion of customs activities, including entry summary and post-summary, are now being handled directly by the ten CEEs across the country.

The structure of CEEs is based on subject matter expertise, as opposed to geographic location, placing them outside of the district system as it currently exists. Therefore, according to CBP, the changes to the broker regulations are needed “to better reflect the current work environment and streamline the customs broker permitting process.”