Will A.I replace licensed customs broker in the future?

I watched a debate show yesterday on Youtube. That is between Elon Musk and Jack Ma at Shanghai 2019 Artificial Intelligence Conference.


Regarding job automation, Elon musk said," Right now we are already a cyborg because we are so well-integrated with our phones and our computers. The phone is like an extension of yourself. If you forget your phone, it's like a missing limb. So he thinks AI technology will be integrated into our job and how human interacts with the world. Some jobs will be gone but some jobs will arise. Jack Ma encountered that, " People could work as little as three days a week, four hours a day with the help of technology advances. They both have valid points but i prefer Elon Musk's.




I know some of us start to have anxiety that they would be behind this technology wave lately. What about the licensed customs broker job? Will we be replaced by a robot in the near future?

Three reasons customs broker job would not be replaced by automation technology


1st, HTS Classification is not an easy task. Take, for example, this recent list I was given to classify:

Part # 123 – Pin

Part # 234 – Pin

Part # 345 – Pin

It seems like they should all be classified the same, right? Wrong! The first one was a pin classified in 7318.24, the second was a cotter pin in 7318.29, and the third was a hinge pin classified in 8302.10. Would a computer program be able to pick up on the nuances of these pins and realize that they are not all the same? Not without more information from you.


2nd, There’s also the issue of Reasonable Care. Reasonable Care is the guideline that Customs requires companies to follow. It’s what draws the line between “you clearly did all you could to get to the right answer” and a negligence violation. CBP reminds us in their Informed Compliance Publication “Reasonable Care” that, “An importer of record’s failure to exercise reasonable care could delay the release of the merchandise and, in some cases, could result in the imposition of penalties or, in certain instances, referral for criminal enforcement.” Is allowing a computer program to classify one’s goods exercising Reasonable Care? If a human is reviewing the classifications that the program suggests, then I would argue that Reasonable Care has been demonstrated. However, if a company relies solely on artificial intelligence to provide its classification, Reasonable Care has not been fulfilled, and this leaves the company at risk for serious penalties.



3rd, there are 13000 licensed customs brokers in the US. To void 19 CFR Part 111 ( customs broker job function) need congress's approval. I would not think it would happen so fast. Customs broker represents US Customs Board of Protection and should firmly stands for US CBP's law and regulation. Why would government leave such important responsibility to the robot machine?


Besides that, i have also summarized 3 main job feature that would not be easily be replaced by technology


High creativity and abstract thinking

High social intelligence and negotiation skills

High demand in communicating with people and care people


Therefore, what the future company need is more than a licensed customs broker who knows how to clear different types of entry, they also need a business consultant who can understand their business and give advice


Last but not least, this new software company based in CA caught my attention. it is called Kleranow . If this type of AI Data reading software works well one day, it will greatly help relieve licensed customs broker's everyday repetitive tasks. Again they cannot replace licensed customs brokers but can certainly make our life more simple and hassle-free.


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