Customs Clearing Agent (CCA) | CUSTOMS ACRONYMS & GLOSSARY


A clearing agent is simply an agent who is responsible for the business’s customs clearance.


Each country has its own set of regulatory requirements for customs. However, many countries share one condition that the clearing agent or customs broker (as they are referred to in a few countries) must be accredited with the local customs authorities, border agencies, port, and other authorities involved in shipment goods.


They should possess a valid clearing licence when they clear the customer’s goods. A few nations have stringent licencing criteria that are evaluated regularly, and agents who do not adhere to them risk having their licences withdrawn.


Clearing agents write examinations in several countries. They may deal as a clearing agent in that country only after completing this exam.

The overall functions of a clearing agent include the following:

  • CCA is a company accredited with the local customs authorities, border agencies, port etc

  • arranges to pass the relevant documents at customs

  • has in-depth knowledge of the HS Codes, the calculation of Duty and VAT

  • organises payment on the duty and VAT applicable

  • assists customers with duty drawbacks etc

  • does not negotiate freight rates with carriers on their own or on behalf of the client

  • does not issue own bills of lading in their capacity as a clearing agent

  • maybe appointed by a freight forwarder or by the customer (exporter or importer)

CCA vs. Freight Forwarder

In contrast to a freight forwarder, a clearing agent is more country-specific, as they interact directly and extensively with local customs authorities and are familiar with local procedures. Freight forwarders have a greater worldwide reach than clearing agents or customs brokers, who are typically more localised.

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Content Source: HMRC , GOV.UK