CBP Loosens the Reigns on Information Sharing for Customs Brokers

Nov 03, 2010   

CBP recently proposed to amend federal regulations to allow customs brokers greater leeway in sharing confidential client information, with the clients written consent.

Under the proposed amendments to 19 C.F.R. § 111.24, “Permissible Sharing of Client Records by Customs Brokers,” brokers possessing prior, written authorization from their clients would be allowed to share a clients information with:

  • affiliated entities related to the broker in order to offer non-customs business services to its clients;
  • third-party service providers to perform photocopying and scanning of client records (with a signed non-disclosure agreement); and
  • third-party messenger services for transporting and/or delivering client documents on behalf of the broker (if those documents are sealed to prevent viewing, altering or amending).

The proposed regulations acknowledge that many companies affiliated with customs brokers are now offering a wider array of logistics services to its clients. Moreover, customs brokers increasingly face the need to use third-party service providers to meet client and CBP demands. Under existing regulations, brokers are only allowed to share importer information with the importers surety (on a particular entry), certain U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices and officials, and other U.S. government agents, “except on subpoena by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

CBP hails the proposed regulations as allowing brokers to offer services that are “streamlined with modern and efficient business practices, while protecting the confidentiality of client (importer) information.” We believe that it the proposed rules will allow these tireless trade professionals to do their jobs more effectively, at a lower cost to importers, and with greater benefits to both brokers and their clients.

Comments on this proposed regulation is due by December 27, 2010.