The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) has filed a petition with the U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) asking it to reconsider the responsibilities assigned to customs brokers when handling imports of radio frequency (RF) devices.
In a final rule published on Nov. 2, the trade association said the FCC inappropriately equates brokers with importers and consignees, who have an ownership interest in the product, are primary parties to the transaction, and are most likely to be familiar with the product’s technical characteristics.
The NCBFAA told the FCC in its petition that the imprecise definition of importer responsibility in the rule “imposes unreasonable responsibilities on a customs broker and creates uncertainty as to who made the determination of FCC compliance.”
The association noted that the “objectionable” provision in the FCC’s final rule states, “No radio frequency device may be imported into the Customs territory of the United States unless the importer or ultimate consignee, or their designated customs broker, determines that the device meets one of the conditions of entry set out in this section.”
In its petition, the NCBFAA’s argues that, “To the extent customs brokers are included in this rule, the responsibilities assigned to brokers should be reasonably proportionate to their function in the supply chain.”
In fact, the NCBFAA said the FCC rule makes the assumption that every imported shipment involves a customs broker relationship.
“FCC’s assumption ignores the relatively new and formidable trade phenomenon: cross-border e-commerce,” the NCBFAA’s petition said. “The explosion of B-to-C (business-to-consumer) e-commerce marks a significant shift in the way goods are conveyed in international trade—moving from the traditional commercial shipment arriving in a 40-foot shipping container to many small packages shipped directly to the consumer likely via an express consignment carrier or through international mail. There is no customs broker-importer relationship in most of these micro-transactions.”
The NCBFAA said it repeatedly raised its concerns during the proposed rulemaking process, even filing formal comments and holding meetings with FCC staff. The association filed the petition after it said the FCC’s final rule “brushed aside broker objections.”
The association said it is willing to work with the FCC and other stakeholders to find ways to achieve RF device safety for imported products.
Importing and managing the logistics of your precious freight is no easy task. Compliance to U.S. Customs & Border Patrol is essential to your cargo clearing customs. Use a freight forwarder to lower your chances of having shipment delays and to oversee all of your international freight logistics. Contact a customs broker to file your ISF and issue any pre-alerts to avoid penalties and delays, and arrange your ocean freight and imports customs clearance.