2014 IFCBA World Conference

The International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations held its bi-annual world conference "Celebrating 25 Years of Trade Facilitation through Expertise and Innovation" in Seoul, Korea from May 13-17, 2014. Please click here for the press release and for the new IFCBA executive team. 

About the IFCBA

The IFCBA has been representing the interests of the worlds' customs brokers and their clients since 1990. Many of our member asoociations have been involved in similar activities within their own countries for nearly a century. » more

Recent News

At the recent IFCBA Board of Directors meeting in Seoul, Korea, an update was provided on proposed changes to the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG).  The IFCBA has been an active member of the PSCG since it was formed, and IFCBA Secretary Carol West has been its Chair since 2008. One of the proposed changes to the PSCG is that organizations with observer status at the WCO, such as the IFCBA, will no longer be eligible for membership in the PSCG.

In June, the PSCG provided commentary to the WCO Policy Commission on the proposed changes to the PSCG.  The PSCG’s suggested changes are reflected in the PSCG Commentary on Changes, June 2014. In addition, the full PSCG report to the Policy Commission is in its PowerPoint presentation. 

If members have any comments or questions, please advise the Secretariat at ifcba@ifcba.org

Analyzing the global corporate trends during the last decades, the relentless pursuit for process efficiency and the reduction of costs can be regarded among the most outstanding. In many industries these elements determine the business competitiveness, are indicative factors of the companies capability to fulfill their social objectives or necessity for precipitated closure of its activities, due to bankruptcy. Nowadays, it is more difficult to find new opportunities for cost reduction, so long after the beginning of implementation of policies such as "lean manufacturing" and "downsizing" that optimized the productivity of businesses. Henceforth, business managers must be more sophisticated to cut unnecessary expenditure.

This has been excerpted from an 18 July 2014 article by Alexandre Lira de Oliveira of Lira & Associados and is available in its entirety at:

The cost of trade among South Asian countries is far too high. There is a need to simplify procedures for trade, and reduce the cost and time taken to handle cargo to ensure that trading within the region is more cost effective. The Trade Facilitation Agreement (2013), agreed upon at the World Trade Organisation Bali Ministerial Meeting, promises to address at least a few of South Asia’s trade facilitation concerns.

The following paper was written by Prabir De with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, New Delhi, and Visiting Faculty, Institute of Foreign Policy Studies, University of Calcutta, Kolkata:

The WCO Council, at its 123rd/124th Sessions in June 2014, adopted a Recommendation that lists recommended amendments to the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature which will enter into force on 1 January 2017 (HS 2017).

This Recommendation is being promulgated under the provisions of Article 16 of the HS Convention, which implies that HS Contracting Parties now have six months to notify the WCO Secretariat of an objection to a recommended amendment.

This has been excerpted from an 11 July 2014 news item by the World Customs Organization and is available in its entirety at:

Mega-regionals are deep integration partnerships between countries or regions with a major share of world trade and foreign direct investment (FDI). Beyond simply increasing trade links, the deals aim to improve regulatory compatibility and provide a rules-based framework for ironing out differences in investment and business climates.

This has been excerpted from a 9 July 2014 article by Tomas Hirst of the World Economic Forum and is available in its entirety at:

A lot is happening on the trade negotiations front in almost every corner of the world. Countries have been active and prolific at the bilateral and regional levels for some time but the key ongoing negotiations are of a different dimension: they involve more partners, from different levels of development and different regions, covering larger volumes of trade and aiming at reaching agreements of a deeper nature on a wide scope of issues. These are the mega-regionals, of which the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are in a category of their own by virtue of their scope and impact.

This has been excerpted from a 9 July 2014 article by Anabel Gonzalez of the World Economic Forum and is available in its entirety at:

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Trade & Foreign Direct Investment is pleased to present the report Mega-regional Trade Agreements: Game-Changers or Costly Distractions for the World Trading System? In continuing with the aim to inform the policy debate on critical issues to shape the global trade agenda, the objective of this document is to explore the impact mega-regionals may have on countries that are not part of the negotiations. It highlights opportunities and challenges in promoting the coexistence of these agreements – should they come to fruition – with the multilateral trading system.

This has been excerpted from a 9 July 2014 report by the World Economic Forum and is available in its entirety at:

Ottawa, May 30, 2014 — The International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations (IFCBA) held its bi-annual world conference “Celebrating 25 years of Trade Facilitation through Expertise and Innovation" in Seoul, Korea from May 13-17, 2014.

The conference sessions were well attended by 300 participants from all corners of the world, including Angola, Argentina, Canada, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Thailand, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

In advance of the world conference, the IFCBA Board of Directors elected a new executive team, including Chairman Shantanu Bhadkamkar (India) and Managing Directors, Pedro Bequengue (Angola), Candace Sider (Canada), Vito Totorizzo (Italy), Han Hwi-Sun (Korea), Victor Gamas (Mexico) and Darrell Sekin (United States).  George Zografos (Greece) is the Immediate Past Chairman, and Carol West (Canada)  continues  as IFCBA Secretary.

“Customs brokers have integrated into global supply chains as experts in logistics  and border management, and have made unparalleled contributions towards making supply chains tax efficient, legally compliant, environmentally friendly, safe and secure” says Chairman Shantanu Bhadkamkar. “As the newly elected Chairman of the IFCBA, I am committed to work with our member associations to strengthen our professionalism, implement IFCBA best practices and continue to add value to the many small and medium sized businesses who rely on our expertise and experience.”

The IFCBA Board set the association’s direction for the coming year and will focus on themes of  leadership through expertise and innovation; promotion of training  and education; and  strengthening global connections by networking and regional cooperation with members as well as other stakeholders on trade facilitation initiatives, including the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

The IFCBA (International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations) is entering its twenty-fifth anniversary year as the only global organization representing customs brokers. It continues to work to enhance the understanding of the customs broker’s role and value in facilitating trade and improving trade efficiency. The IFCBA Secretariat is located within the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers.

IFCBA Chairman and Managing Directors 2014-2016



Mr. Shantanu Bhadkamkar is the Managing Director (Group CEO) of ATC Group, a leading Customs Broker & International Freight Forwarder in India. In addition to being the Chairman of IFCBA, he is also the Immediate Past Chairman of FFFAI & CSCMP RT Mumbai, Sr. VP of MACCIA - an Apex Chamber of State of Maharashtra, Vice President of AMTO. Mr. Bhadkamkar is also actively associated with other local, regional, national & international NGOs in active positions. He has been awarded with World Customs Organisation’s Certificate of Merit; and has also been a recipient of awards from many organisations for service to the industry.



Mr. Pedro Bequengue was an employee in the International Trade Office of Angola from 1993 to 1999 and has worked over 20 years in the International Trade sector. He has been a Customs Broker since 1999. Mr. Bequengue was the Vice President of the Angola Customs Brokers Association from 2009 to 2013. He is the President of the Chamber of Customs Brokers of Angola for the biennium of 2014-2015 and has been a Managing Director of the International Federation of Customs Brokers Association (IFCBA) since 2012.


Candace Sider is a senior customs and trade executive with over 35 years’ experience in the customs and trade industry with specific focus on compliance, corporate governance, risk management, crisis communication, advocacy and promotion of trade. In her current role leading Livingston International  Inc.’s Canadian regulatory affairs group, Ms. Sider liaises with various Canadian government departments and agencies to help shape the policies and procedures governing trade in the context of a dynamic and evolving marketplace and to help Livingston develop business solutions that will meet the future needs of the international trade community.

She was chair of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers from 2008 through 2011 and previously served on the IFCBA Board of Directors from 2008-2010. Ms. Sider was a CSCB Executive Board Member from 2012 to 2013, and the Immediate past Chair from 2012 to 2013. She has also been on the CSCB Board of Directors from 2004 to 2008, and on the Advisory Board of the Certified Trade Compliance Specialist Program.  Ms. Sider has obtained her CSCB Certified Customs Specialist and Certified Trade Compliance Specialist designations and her Professional License from the Canada Border Services Agency.


Vito Totorizzo works at BARI (Italy) SPAMAT SNC SHIPPING AND FORWARDING AGENCY. He has been a Seamaster since 1970, a Shipagent since 1980, and a Customs Broker since 1984. He was the President on the Board of ANASPED (Italian Association Customs Broker) from 2007 to 2010. Mr. Totorizzo has been a Board member of CONFIAD (European Association Customs Broker) since 2004 and is a Customs working group member of FEPORT(Association European Port Terminals). Mr. Totorizzo is a Board member of FEDERAGENTI (Italian Association of Shipagents).  He has been an IFCBA Managing Director since 2012.


Han Hwi-Sun graduated from the College of Business Administration in Korea in 1997 as a Certified Customs Broker. He established HanJoo Customs Corporation in 2003 and has been a PR Committee member of KCBA (Korea Customs Brokers Association) since 2013. Mr. Hwi-Sun is a Taxation Value Evaluation Council member of the Seoul Customs House. He is an Audit Administration Development Committee member of the Korea Customs Service and an Advisory Customs Attorney of ENVICO (Korea Environment & Resources Corporation). Mr. Hwi-Sun was elected as the 22nd President of KCBA in March 2013.


Víctor Gamas is currently Chairman of the Board of the National Confederation of Customs Brokers of Mexico (CAAAREM) and President and CEO for The Gamas Group.  The Gamas Group is an International Logistics Provider, Freight Forwarder and Customs Brokers firm in Mexico and the USA headquarters are located Nogales, Mexico.

After graduating in 1991 from Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey, with a B.A. in Certificate Public Accountant, Mr. Gamas received his Customs Brokers license in 1994. Since then has developed from a family business of less than 25 employees to an international firm of more than 400 employees in 20 different locations through Mexico and the USA.

Mr. Gamas was elected President of the Mexican Confederation of Customs Brokers Associations in August 2013.Mr. Gamas is a past Chairman of the Nogales Customs Brokers Association.    


Mr. Sekin is the current Chairman of the Board of The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc.(NCBFAA) after having served as the President of NCBFAA for two years. He has been an active member of NCBFAA since the late 1970’s and has served on and/or chaired numerous committees of NCBFAA as well as the North Texas Customs Brokers and Forwarders Associations and the Houston Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association throughout the years.

He received his Customs Broker License in 1975 and in 1995 he received a BS in Business Management from LeTourneau University.

In 1985 Mr. Sekin established what is now DJS International Services, Inc., an international freight forwarder, customs broker and NVOCC located at Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas that is owned and operated by he and his family.



Carol West is the President of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers as well as a founding director and the Secretary of the International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations.

Ms. West has participated for many years in Canadian and international discussions on harmonization of data requirements, Customs processes, border management, supply chain security and trade facilitation. She has served as an external advisor to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada on several audits relating to risk management and border processes. She has contributed to the World Customs Organization’s capacity building work on the SAFE Framework of Standards in El Salvador, Argentina and Guatemala in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency.  She has also been engaged by the World Bank and World Customs Organization as an expert on customs broker regulation for projects in Lao PDR and Vietnam.  She was invited to join the World Customs Organization’s Private Sector Consultative Group when it was formed in 2006, was elected its Chair in June, 2008 and was re- elected for two additional terms.

Ms. West was awarded the inaugural CATIE award for Trade Leadership in Canada, and has also received a Certificate of Merit from the WCO for rendering exceptional service to the Canada Border Services Agency by strengthening partnerships between CBSA and the private sector.


For a copy of the media release and the new executive team, click here.

For more information  please visit: www.ifcba.org.

Media contact:    

Janice McBride
IFCBA Secretariat
c/o Canadian Society of Customs Brokers
(T) 613-562-3543
email: jmcbride@cscb.ca; ifcba@ifcba.org



ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) has launched the Certificate of Origin (CO) verification website to reinforce the authenticity of the CO verification process conducted by customs authorities and chambers.

Introduced in response to requests from ICC WCF International CO Accreditation Chain members, the initiative aims to offer customs authorities the unique opportunity to verify the authenticity of COs issued by participating chambers.

This news release by the International Chamber of Commerce is available in its entirety at:

The following excerpted from is a 17 December 2013 news release by the Press Information Bureau, Government of India.

In order to discourage import of sugar, the customs duty on sugar import has been raised from 10% to 15% with effect from 8.7.2013. Since then there has been hardly any imports under Open General Licence (OGL) worth affecting domestic market.

This release is available in its entirety at: