Customs Broker vs. Attorney in Fact

During the process of importing-exporting, many companies will decide to hire a licensed Customs Broker to clear goods through customs and ensure all documentation is filled correctly. Customs Brokers are regulated by the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BoC) and are therefore authorized to assist importer-exporters in meeting the rules and regulations governing imports and exports.


However, with the passing of Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) in 2016, the BoC has declared that engaging the services of licensed customs broker by an importer or exporter is now optional. According to BoC, the Act provides the importers and exporters with the option to

  • 1) engage the service of a licensed customs broker,
  • 2) assign an attorney in fact that will deal with the customs authorities on their behalf,
  • 3) clear their import/export goods by themselves.


Since the customs clearing process involves a series of tedious tasks, the latter may not be a viable option for most importer-exporters. This leaves us the question of who is more apt to do the customs clearing process: a customs broker or an attorney in fact?


What is a Customs Broker?

The Section 102(n) of the CMTA states that term Customs Broker refers to any person who is a bona fide holder of a valid Certificate of Registration/Professional Identification Card issued by the Professional Regulatory Board and Professional Regulation Commission pursuant to Republic Act No. 9280, as amended, otherwise known as the “Customs Brokers Act of 2004”.


Advantages of Hiring Customs Broker


  • Expertise in customs laws, rules and regulations for the clearance of imported or exported goods.
  • Has basic knowledge of how to prepare customs documentation and ensure that shipments meet all applicable laws to facilitate the import and export goods.
  • Can sign documents under power of attorney.


What is an Attorney in Fact?

According to Investopedia, an Attorney in Fact is a is a person who is authorized to perform business-related transactions on behalf of someone else (the principal, or in this context, the importer/exporter). To become someone’s attorney in fact, a person must have the principal sign a power of attorney document. This document designates the person as an agent, allowing him to perform actions in the principal’s stead.


Two Forms of Attorney in Fact

  • General Power of Attorney – Allows the attorney in fact to conduct all business and sign any document on behalf of the principal.
  • Special Power of Attorney – Allows the persons to sign documents and conduct business on the principal’s behalf only in specific situations.


Advantage of Hiring Attorney in Fact

  • Has knowledge on legal matters.

Overall, a licensed customs broker can provide more specific expertise about customs regulations and laws compared to an attorney in fact. This specialized knowledge very handy especially if you are new in the import-export business.


At Excelsior, we value your business and your time. This is why we want to offer you a customs brokerage service that is efficient, professional, and ethical.


Allow Excelsior Worldwide Freight Logistics Corp. to help you navigate the world of import and export. For any queries that you may have about our customs brokerage service, you may call us at (063) 525-9775, or you can send us an e-mail through