Joining the IFCBA Board of Directors: our responsibilities

Candace SiderCandace Sider, Director Regulatory Affairs, Canada I recently attended The International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations (IFCBA) World Customs Broker conference in Seoul, Korea where I was elected to be a Managing Director, representing Canada on the IFCBA Board of Directors. It is an honor and privilege to have been nominated for this position. Managing Directors from Mexico, the U.S., Angola, Italy and Korea, under the leadership of the acting chair from India, share a common vision for our industry – and we all think 2014 will be a very exciting year!Korea was our host for the 2014 conference and did an outstanding job facilitating the delegates and ensuring the conference was a great success.

Brokers from all over the world were in attendance and I couldn’t help thinking how similar and yet different we are. While many countries continue to regulate brokers, some parts of the world have deregulated brokers and have no requirements in place for licensing or continuing education; some countries have an accredited brokers association while others do not. So as you can imagine, even though brokers worldwide have the same “job,” their day-to-day experience varies significantly.

I couldn’t help thinking how difficult and challenging it must be for those countries that have no association support. In Canada we have the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) supporting and advocating on brokers’ behalf. They do great work and we are extremely fortunate to have them be our voice on key policy issues with government.

Looking ahead to modernization

Two of my tasks on the board of directors will be looking ahead at the impact of modernization on the way we as brokers do business, and gaining a deeper understanding of what Customs authorities want and expects from trade – as well as what trade wants and expects from Customs.
As customs brokers, we believe that mutually beneficial sustainable relationships between Customs and Trade to support border integrity are critical.

Promoting trade with new and emerging markets

Another area of focus for the board will be looking at new and emerging markets. While new markets always bring challenges, they also represent great opportunity. With recent announcement of WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and the signing of the EU and Korea Free Trade agreements, Canada has signaled that these economies are becoming a viable opportunity for Canadian importers and exporters.
Just looking at some of the highlights illustrates those opportunities:

Canada – EU agreement

  • A boost to Canada’s GDP of $12B annually
  • Increase bilateral trade by 20%
  • 98% of all goods exported to the EU duty free (99% after 7 years)

Canada – Korea agreement

  • A boost to Canada’s GDP of $1.7B annually
  • Increase bilateral trade by 32%
  • 81.99% of all goods exported to Korea duty free (98.2% after 5 years)

While both agreements may take an additional 18 months to ratify, this allows companies to define their position and next steps. I’d recommend companies start ramping up their strategies around these markets now, and brainstorm on how to best take advantage of the opportunities available when doing business in Korea and Europe.

Next time, I’ll talk more about the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and what that means to industry.