The much-anticipated final ruling on continuing education for Licensed Customs Brokers was announced on June 22, 2023. As expected, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will require brokers to complete 36 hours of continuing education each triennial reporting cycle, beginning with the cycle ending in 2027.
Why is this happening? The Federal Register notes,“By requiring individual brokers to remain knowledgeable about recent developments in customs and related laws as well as international trade and supply chains, CBP’s framework will enhance professionalism and competency within the customs broker community. CBP has determined that this framework will contribute to increased trade compliance and better protection of the revenue of the United States.”
Well, they are not wrong. Just this year alone, Tradewin has seen an increase in CF28s & CF29s as well as a higher level of Full Desk Reviews and Focused Assessments. Section 301 is still in place. CBP has a greater focus on topics such as trade-based money laundering (TBML) and forced labor requirements. And that is not even touching on Customs Broker Modernization Regulations 19 CFR 111. Trade compliance is becoming more complex, furthering the need for the most highly qualified experts.
What to expect? Brokers can earn continuing education credits for a variety of training or educational activities, be it in-person or online, including the completion of coursework, seminars, workshops, symposiums, and conventions, and, subject to certain limitations and requirements, the preparation and presentation of subject matter as an instructor, discussion leader, or speaker. Training or educational activity provided by CBP or any other federal agency that is relevant to customs business would automatically qualify as continuing education credit, but training or educational activity offered by corporations, non-profit organizations, or foreign government agencies would only qualify if it has been approved beforehand by a CBP-selected accreditor.
What if the continuing education isn’t completed? CBP is authorized to take disciplinary actions if a broker fails to complete the required number of continuing education credits or certify their compliance. These measures would progress from warning letters to suspension and revocation of the broker’s license.
In short, under 19 U.S.C. 1641(b)(4), a customs broker has the statutory duty to exercise responsible supervision and control over the customs business they conduct. Maintaining current knowledge and competence is an inherent part of the statutory duty of the customs broker. A customs broker reasonably can be expected to uphold such responsible supervision over their employees and control over their customs business only by acquiring and maintaining the knowledge of customs and related laws.
See you on the road to 36.