Use of customs brokers
The Egyptian Customs Law No. 66 of 1963 and its Executive Regulation No. 10 of 2006 were amended and replaced by the new Customs Law No. 207 of 2020 and its Executive Regulation No. 430 of 2021. The current law and its executive regulation, like the previous ones, allow the stakeholder or his agent to deal with customs in finalizing the customs procedures without introducing the mandatory use of customs brokers.
Article (1) of the Customs Law "Definitions" defines the "Customs Broker "as a natural or legal person who prepares, signs, presents the customs declaration to the Customs Authority, and finalizes the procedures in respect of the goods for others.
Worth mentioning that the Customs Law No. 207 of 2020 defines the role of "Customs Broker" in Section (6), Chapter (5) - Articles (51-57). Furthermore, Executive Regulation No. 430 of 2021 devotes Articles (243-250) in Chapter (6) entitled "Customs Broker" to clarify the system of customs brokers in more detail.
First: Customs Law
Section (6) - Customs Procedures, Chapter (5) - Customs Broker
It is not allowed to practice customs clearance of the goods of others except after obtaining a license for practicing from the Customs Authority. The term of the license is two years subject to renewal. This license expires if it is not renewed before the end of its term, and the Executive Regulations of this Law specifies the controls, conditions, forms and rules for implementing this.
The Customs Authority may issue permissions to customs broker assistants in accordance with the categories and with the conditions and requirements specified by the Executive Regulations of this law.
Without prejudice to the legal status of Customs brokers who have been licensed to practice the profession prior to the entry into force of this law, persons practicing the profession of clearance of goods, shall meet the following criteria:
1. Possess the nationality of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
2. Possess a high qualification degree.
3. Performed the military service or has been exempted from it.
4. Age should be at least 21 years old.
5. Must not have been dismissed from service in the government or public authorities nor his name has been struck off the Customs brokers' schedule for reasons related to honour or honesty breaches.
6. Must not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanour prejudicial to honour or any of the Tax and customs evasion crimes unless he has been rehabilitated.
7. Must not be a worker in any of the government entities, units, public authorities, the public sector, or the public business sector. It is required for those who were previously an employee of the custom authority that three years have passed since they left the work.
8. Participated in the training courses held by the Customs Authority and passed the exam qualifying for the profession at the end of the courses. Highly qualified ex-Customs employees shall be exempted from attending the training courses, provided that they pass the aforementioned exam.
9. Passing the validity period of six months under training, with the exception of customs officials who possess the judicial seizure.
10. Owns an office in Egypt.
11. Submits a tax card.
Licenses may be issued for legal persons, provided that they meet the following requirements:
1. Submit a commercial register.
2. The company has an independent premise.
3. Only those who meet the conditions for practicing the profession stipulated in the first paragraph of this Article shall practice clearance operations.
The legal representative of the legal person, in addition to the other conditions stipulated by law, shall not been previously convicted in any of the crimes stipulated in this law, unless he has been rehabilitated.
Each customs clearance office shall deposit at the customs authority a cash insurance of 50,000 Egyptian Pounds and for the legal person licensed to practice the profession of customs clearance, the cash insurance is 100,000 Egyptian Pounds. The Customs Authority may deduct from this deposit the amount of fines and compensations due to violations committed by the office or by the legal person or its brokers employed by him. The insurance amount shall be supplemented with the value of the fines or compensations deducted.
The customs broker has to keep a special register with a serial number stamped by the customs authority seal in which the goods that has been cleared are recorded. He has to present it to the customs authority whenever requested to review it. This record as well as the supporting documents should be maintained for five years.
Ministries, government authorities, public organizations and local administration units and others from public legal persons and public sector companies, public business sector and others from companies, embassies and consulates may conduct customs clearance procedures of their own goods by their employees, based on a written authorization from them provided that they have passed the customs clearance training courses prepared by the customs authority.
In the Customs Departments, Disciplinary Committees shall be formed to hold customs brokers accountable for violating the provisions of this law, headed by the head of a central administration chosen by the head of the custom authority or whomever he delegates, and the membership of each of the following:
1. General Director of Legal Affairs.
2. Customs Brokers Representative, selected by the competent brokers division.
The Committee shall issue its decisions by a majority of votes with justification.
The disciplinary penalties that may be imposed are as follows:
1. Warning/ Notice.
2. Suspension for a period not exceeding one year for the first violation and the penalty shall be doubled in case of another violation committed within two years from the date of the previous violation.
3. Revocation of the license
The Head of the Customs Authority, in the event that any of the customs brokers commits violations that may be consider as a felony, may suspend the license granted to him until the committee finalize the issuance of its decision.
The customs broker has the right of appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Committee, stipulated in the previous article, within 30 days from the date of his knowledge of this decision.
A High Appeals Committee shall be established at the Customs Authority chaired by the Head of the Customs Authority and with the membership of a representative of the Customs Authority whose job level is not less than the head of a central department and a representative of the customs brokers to be chosen by the competent brokers division. The representative of the customs brokers selected shall not be one of the members of the Disciplinary Committee that issued the appealed penalty.
The Committee shall decide on the appeals submitted by the customs brokers against the decisions of the disciplinary within a period not exceeding 15 days from the date of submitting the appeal.
The Committee issues its justified decisions by a majority of opinions, and they are enforceable.
Second: Executive Regulation
Chapter six Customs Broker
The profession of clearance of goods belonging to others shall not be practiced except after obtaining a license from the Customs Authority. The license is issued for a period of two years and is renewable as stipulated in these regulations.
Each Customs Clearance Office shall deposit a cash insurance of 50,000 Egyptian pounds, and the legal person shall deposit 100,000 Egyptian pounds at the Customs Authority. The Customs Authority may deduct from this deposit the amount of fines and compensations due to violations committed by the office or by the legal person or its brokers employed by him. The insurance amount shall be replenished to substitute, the value of the fines or compensation deducted within two weeks from the date of notifying the office or the legal person of this by a letter or by e-mail.
The cash insurance amount may be, upon request, paid annually in equal instalments over five years.
The license shall be terminated if it is not renewed before the end of its validity period. It is permissible, upon the request of the broker, to re-enroll him, provided that the conditions for the license to practice the profession stipulated in these regulations are fulfilled.
To renew the license to practice customs clearance work on goods, the following is required:
1. Submit the criminal status record.
2. Not to miss the conditions for granting the license stipulated in Article (52) of the law.
A Customs Broker is obligated to do the following:
a) Keep a special register with a serial number stamped with the customs authority's seal, to register serially the shipments cleared, with proof of the Customs declaration number and the Customs receipt number and the date. It is obliged to submit it to customs authority when requesting its review.
b) Deliver a detailed statement to the client, signed and stamped with the office stamp, stating expenses, clearance fees, and taxes and duties paid.
c) Maintain the register referred to in sub-para. (a) in this article and documents for 5 years.
d) Notify the Customs Authority of any changes that occur to the data or documents submitted to obtain the license, in particular the address of the place of practice of the clearance activity.
The customs departments concerned with the customs brokers affairs at the custom authority are obliged to follow up the customs clearance offices and companies to verify the above mentioned, including the conditions for granting the license stipulated in Article 52 of the law.
In the case of the customs broker violates the provisions of the first paragraph of this article, he shall be referred to the disciplinary committee located in its violating districts, all without prejudice to the criminal responsibility of the customs broker.
Ministries, government authorities, public organizations and local administration units and others from public legal persons and public sector companies, public business sector and others from companies, embassies and consulates may conduct customs clearance procedures of their own goods by their employees, based on a written authorization from them provided that:
a) Customs clearance is not among the activities of the entities described above.
b) The employees have passed Customs Clearance Training Course prepared by the customs authority.
c) The delegate should not represent more than one of the entities referred to above. This is evidenced by approval letter from the entity or company, and a certificate issued by the social insurance, with the exception of the embassies and consulates from submitting this certificate.
To obtain the delegates card working in the entities referred to in Article 246 of these Regulation, the following documents shall be submitted:
a) Academic qualification provided that, must have at least an intermediate qualification.
b) Authorization approved by the entity or its subsidiary.
c) Evidence that he is registered within the social insurance in relation to the entity he is affiliated to, with the exception of the embassies and the consulates.
d) Certificate of military service performance or exemption from it.
e) Criminal status sheet.
f) Certificate of passing the training course prepared by the Customs Authority.
The license granted to a broker shall be revoked by force of law in the following cases:
a) A final court judgement is passed against him in a felony or misdemeanor that violates honor or honesty.
b) If he misses, one of the conditions of the licence required to practice the profession.
c) The death of the customs broker.
d) Abuse of the license by assigning it to others or renting it.
Licenses for the customs broker's assistants may be issued for the following categories in accordance with the provisions set forth below:
a) Broker who is affiliated to an office:
The conditions for issuing a public broker's license shall apply to him, except for the two conditions of establishing an office and that of paying the cash insurance. Broker who is affiliated to an office works through the office and his work is limited to the clients of the office he belongs to only.
b) Assistant Broker:
Applications for issuing permits for Assistant broker should be in numbers adequate with their workload; it is issued on the condition that the following documents are submitted:
1. Academic qualification provided that, must have at least an intermediate qualification.
2. Evidence that he is registered within the social insurance in relation to the entity he is affiliated to.
3. Criminal status sheet.
4. Power of attorney from the owner of the customs clearance office.
5. Certificate of military service performance or exemption from it.
6. Authenticated copy of the license of his clearance office.
The work of assistants is limited to the auxiliary work of the Office, and they are not entitled to be presented during the stages of disclosure and valuation.
Issuance of customs clearance licenses shall be in accordance with the relevant forms.