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CBP Not Looking to Revoke Licenses Over Continuing Education Requirement, Industry Members Say

NEW ORLEANS -- CBP doesn't want to revoke anyone’s customs broker licenses over the coming continuing education program requirements, Carie Samuel, Ascent Global Logistics vice president of regulatory compliance, said April 26 at the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America annual conference. “They want us to be educated professionals who take this requirement very, very seriously because we asked for it. We wanted it and so they want us to take it seriously,” Samuel said.

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CBP is giving brokers plenty of opportunity to meet the requirements, she said. Customs brokers have to complete 36 hours of continuing education over three years, she said, and if that isn't completed, they are given an additional 30 days to get the requirements completed. Failure to do so after the additional 30 days will result in a suspended license with 120 days for corrective action, Samuel said.

The requirements largely "mimic what we have within the NCBFAA Educational Institute Certified Customs Specialist program today,” Thayne Worsley, FedEx managing director of trade networks transport and brokerage, said on the same continuing education panel. “If you're following the CCS continuing education requirements, you are set in terms of what we foresee you're going to need on an annual basis for the license of broker continuing education requirements.” Worsley said he expects that CBP will stick with the 36-hour requirement in the final rule, because that allows brokers to focus on an even 12 hours each year.

Some requirements can be done through CCS courses, or in-house classes done by some companies should work toward the requirement, Worsley said. The new regulations are also more "partner government agency-centered,” which means more content can meet the requirements, Worsley said. “There's a broad way in which content can meet the requirements under the new proposed rulemaking record-keeping requirements,” Worsley said. CBP also is providing certain accredited content for free to help brokers with a smaller budget, Worsley said.

The requirements will likely be in place by in 2024, which is the beginning of the next triennial reporting period, panelist Cynthia Whittenburg, NEI executive vice president, said. If CBP fails to get the requirements in by 2024, that would likely push the requirements back further, to 2027, as it is “highly unlikely” CBP would implement these requirements in the middle of the triennial, Whittenburg said. “I continue to remind [CBP that] if you miss this opportunity, now you're pushing out this requirement another three years,” she said.