The first certification I received after coming into the business after college was my Customs broker license. It was stamped with the signature of George J. Weise*, Commissioner from 1993-1997 under President Clinton, who came to Customs from the House Ways & Means Committee and was somebody who knew his stuff on trade. This was the early nineties, the heady days after NAFTA was signed into law in 1993 (along with the Mod Act) and long before the security first, trade second mindset that dominated Customs and Border Protection from the early 2000’s onward.
You see, when I got my license, Customs was under the Department of the Treasury, where they had been since their founding in the early days of the United States. On March 1, 2003, parts of the U.S. Customs Service combined with the Inspections Program of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine from USDA, and the Border Patrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to form U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Credit: Wikipedia)
In order to practice as a Customs broker, you first need a license, but you also need a permit. That permit gets you a filer code, and with that you have the authority to start making entry on behalf of commercial importers before Customs. When I opened Position : Global, this was something I contemplated getting at the time but put on the back burner. As I start to move my business forward, however, it is something that I decided was a necessity, so application letter, fees and a copy of my license (number 14293) later, today I picked up my local permit for the Port of Chicago. It opens several doors that professionally I consider important and vital for my business and I’m happy and proud to have it.
So if you’re going through a liquidation report or a stack of entries and see filer code 9QD, that’s me.
*At an NCBFAA conference (I forget which one), I got him to autograph the back in person, so it’s double signed, just to be sure.