On August 28, 2023, the International Federation of Customs Brokers Association (IFCBA) held a virtual Board of Directors meeting, representing numerous countries at various stages of global trade facilitation, from Angola to Uruguay.
IFCBA Chairman, Shankar Shinde, opened the meeting by welcoming IFCBA directors and past chairs from many regions of the world. Shinde identified three areas of importance to him and asked all directors to bring ideas and action to support these areas.
First, increasing membership in the IFCBA will bring benefits to those associations and companies who join IFCBA. One of the objectives of the IFCBA is to share information about best practices in member countries, and to provide a platform for networking by customs brokers. The second priority is the nurturing of the next generation of customs brokers. This goal is also shared by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and is key to the prosperity of IFCBA’s member countries moving forward.
Finally, attention to Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) is key to trade facilitation and promotion of the efficient flow of goods and services across borders. Customs brokers are key players as AEOs in supply chains, and as communication hubs to encourage and enable clients to attain AEO status.
During the meeting, IFCBA past chairman and director from Mexico Jamie King provided an update on the activities of the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG).
IFCBA directors provided individual reports on the state of customs brokers and trade in their respective countries. There was considerable alignment of priorities and commentary, including the following common issues around the globe:
- the need to attract the younger generation to this industry;
- the need for professional education and professional development standards that support the complex work of customs brokers.
- increasing government regulation and expectations of investments by customs brokers with increasingly diminished returns.
There is no doubt that the issues facing customs brokers globally are pressing, yet the collective voices, ideas and energy within the IFCBA are encouraging and the willingness to work together on common goals is impressive.