Experience in training and issuing certificates of accreditation as Customs broker


Experience in training and issuing certificates of accreditation as Customs broker
The consultation workshop. Photo: Q.H

The General Department of Vietnam Customs and the USAID-funded Trade Facilitation Project in Hanoi jointly held the workshop on November 10, 2022.

The workshop was attended by representatives of the Customs Control and Supervision Department, Customs Reform and Modernization Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs, local customs departments of Hanoi, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh, Lang Son, and 65 customs brokers.

At the workshop, Senior Vice President of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers Janice McBride said that some countries in the world had announced the results of the ranking of customs brokers. In particular, some countries also stipulate penalties and supervise the operation of customs brokers.

For example, after identifying the weakness of a customs broker, the customs authority may request the staff or the customs brokers to organize training courses. Then, if the Customs brokers meet requirements, they can operate normally.

On the other hand, the capacity of customs brokers can be built. Many countries have combined training and examination. The units building the training manual are also the Customs Broker License Examination organizers.

The Senior Vice President of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers also gave an example of training and issuing the certificate of accreditation as a Customs broker in Japan, Canada.

For example, in Japan, a group of experts assist Customs in developing a system of examination questions. 15 experts from different fields in the Customs sector jointly develop a question system for the Customs Broker License Examination.

In Africa, especially Malawi and Zambia, they build training courses into a comprehensive model and do not separate the training and the examination.

The private sector participates in the training program for customs brokers in Canada. The private sector sets the standard for knowledge, and the Customs requires each customs broker to have at least one staff with in-depth knowledge.

Currently, about 5,000 people in Canada are trained in specialized knowledge. When customers come to customs brokers, they will give priority to these customs brokers.

In many other countries, Customs uses association information to provide to members. The associations also play an important role in consulting, gathering feedback from members, and then providing information to the Customs.

“Most of the training will be done by the Customs, but it also needs to involve the private sector. The Customs authorities and customs brokers should jointly organize training for each other. If the customs broker wants to comply well with the regulations, it must clearly understand them. Therefore, associations play an important role in sharing information for members,” said Ms Janice McBride.

At the workshop, Trade Advisor to Vietnam, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Jennifer A. Engalbach gave ideas on customs brokers as authorized economic operator; authorized economic operators and assessment of the performance of the customs broker.

Criteria for certification of customs broker creates trust. The authorized economic operator program (AEO) developed by the World Customs Organization focuses on security issues, founded by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and supported by customs administrations.

“The AEO program has launched in Vietnam, but very few customs brokers are recognized as AEO. The AEO program is built on the trust between the customs broker and the customs authority”, said Ms Jennifer A. Engalbach.

Ms Jennifer A. Engalbach asked the question: What is the difference between the AEO program and a certified customs broker? Not all enterprises become the AEO, and not all customs brokers participate in the AEO program. This is the customer’s request when they meet conditions on the security issues in the supply chain and are approved by the Customs authorities. Not all countries apply the AEO program for customs brokers.

Many customs brokers are small and medium enterprises and may not meet the criteria to become the AEO. Therefore, the benefits of customs brokers when participating in the program should be regulated. In the World Customs Organization’s consultations with the private sector, the AEO program is widely implemented worldwide. However, the AEO must meet certain conditions, so these conditions should not be included when issuing the certificate of accreditation as a Customs broker, and there should issue separate criteria for customs brokers.

The process of assessment and issuance of the certificate of customs broker needs to be harmonized between countries. Thus, the licensing of customs brokers should be based on up-to-date knowledge provided by the Association of Customs Brokers and cooperation with the Customs authority to provide appropriate sets of criteria for them.


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