Today I want to share with you information that is not well explained when hiring a licensed customs broker. As a Licensed Customs Broker, we are highly regulated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, especially when dealing with importer’s information and advice.
The records about the business of the clients serviced by the broker are to be considered confidential, and the broker must not disclose their contents or any information connected with the records to any persons other than those clients, their surety on a particular entry, and the Field Director, Office of International Trade, Regulatory Audit, the special agent in charge, the port director, or other duly accredited officers or agents of the United States, except on subpoena by a court of competent jurisdiction.
- Licensed brokers must perform due diligence when giving advice to an importer. When a Licensed Broker provides advice to their clients, they must exercise due diligence to ascertain the correctness of any information which they impart to a client, and he must not knowingly impart to a client false information relative to any customs business.
- Licensed brokers must advise clients of any deficiencies. If a broker knows that a client has not complied with the law or has made an error in, or omission from, any document, affidavit, or other paper which the law requires the client to execute, he must advise the client promptly of that non-compliance, error, or omission.
- Licensed brokers must adhere to regulations. A broker must not knowingly suggest to a client or prospective client any illegal plan for evading payment of any duty, tax, or other debt or obligation owing to the U.S. Government.
- Licensed brokers cannot file a false claim. A broker must not file or procure or assist in the filing of any claim, or of any document, affidavit, or other papers, known by such broker to be false. In addition, a broker must not knowingly give, or solicit or procure the giving of, any false or misleading information or testimony in any matter pending before the Department of Homeland Security or any representative of the Department of Homeland Security.
Assumptions most importers make when dealing with a customs broker
The regulation covering Importer and a Licensed Customs Broker relationship are very specific. From my experience, these are the assumptions most importers make when dealing with a customs broker:
- What is not considered confidential is when you share information with your broker. If CBP requests this information it must be disclosed immediately.
- We don’t have the same privileges as an attorney – client.
So before sharing information with your Licensed Broker seek an expert opinion, because your communications with your broker are not considered confidential and must be disclosed immediately. You will be penalized if you fail to understand all these points when dealing with a customs broker.
Contact us to avoid potential penalties and have a great customs experience.