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Newly published guidance from FSIS for meat, poultry and egg products

July 14th, 2017


On July 7th the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published guidance for Importing Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products into the United States.  FSIS is the public health regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that domestic and imported meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

The document includes information on the requirements for importing these types of products including:

  • Products must originate from eligible countries and from establishments or plants that are certified to export to the United States.
  • Each consignment must have an electronic inspection certification or a paper inspection certificate issued by an authorized official of the foreign government agency responsible for the inspection and certification of the product.
  • All imported shipments of meat, poultry, and egg products must be presented to FSIS for inspection and the importer, or their authorized agent, must apply for FSIS inspection of imported product prior to the cargo arriving in the U.S.  This is done by either submitting the paper FSIS Form 9540-1 (Import Inspection Application) to the FSIS inspection personnel in the a designated official import inspection establishment; or the electronic application data (Partner Government Agency (PGA) Message Set) into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).
  • If an importer fails to present their cargo from immediate inspection FSIS will request, through CBP, a redelivery of the shipment and appropriate penalties.  The shipment will be deemed ineligible for FSIS inspection and, depending on the shipment status, it may be either destroyed or returned to the country of origin.

CustomsNow’s ABI software can submit the FSISA PGA data set in order to meet their prior notice requirement.  Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.

Changes announced to the Customs broker exam process!

July 13th, 2017

exam study

On June 30, 2017, CBP published a final rule in the Federal Register regarding the customs broker exam process.  Previously CBP had published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to modernize the customs broker’s examination provisions which is now made final. Specifically, CBP proposed amending the customs broker’s examination provisions, which are contained in 19 CFR part 111, to permit automation of the examination.

From now on the exam will be all-electronic with benefits to both CBP and the trade, such as a faster processing time, which lets examinees know their results more quickly and efficiently, and a significant reduction in administrative duties for CBP employees.

Additionally, the twice-yearly exams will now take place on fourth Wednesday in October and April.

However, as the electronic exam uses all private facilities with professional proctors, this automated method will be more expensive than the paper exam. Therefore, the fee will increase from $200 to $390.

The new efficiencies gained will be worth the extra money, we think.  Read more from CBP here.  Review sample exam here.

Lost your tariff number? Wondered the status of GSP? Read on…

July 12th, 2017



On June 29th CBP published CSMS message no. 17-000381 announcing the availability of Harmonized System Update (HSU) 1704, which went into effect on July 1, 2017.

This USHTS update contains modifications mandated by the 484 F Committee (the Committee for Statistical Annotation of Tariff Schedules), adjustments to several Participating Government Agency (PGA) indicators, and staged rate duty reductions as a result of Presidential Proclamation 9466 (to Implement the World Trade Organization Declaration on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products and For Other Purposes).

The modified records are available to all ABI participants and can be retrieved electronically via the procedures indicated in the CATAIR.  CustomsNow clients have the ability to review the HTS numbers that are valid on/after July 1st and mass update their product classifications accordingly.  The official HTS 2017 and update change record can be viewed at the USITC website.

In addition to these updates, CBP advised that as of its publication, the latest GSP proclamation had not been signed.  CBP is expecting the proclamation to have a July 1st effective date as well, but due to recent differences between the draft documentation and the final legislation, CBP was unable to make the necessary modifications until the proclamation is official.  Once it has been signed, CBP will begin updating the system. When the changes have been completed another HTS update will be created and the associated CSMS message will be posted.

Hot off the press! July 8, 2017 ACE Deployment Postponed

June 27th, 2017

ace-logoHold that thought….

CBP has just announced that the July 8th scheduled deployment for Entry Summary functionality to ACE has been postponed.  Though just announced under a month ago, CBP has determined that a few more things need to be worked about before the deployment.

Read more of the history on this topic here.

Per CBP, “The rescheduled deployment date will be published in a Federal Register Notice at least 30 days in advance of the actual deployment/mandatory transition.”

A CSMS message from CBP should follow shortly.

Interested in partnering closely with CBP on important trade functions? CBP is looking to add new COAC Members

June 19th, 2017

cbp sealCBP is looking to add new members to their COAC group, or Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.  Members of COAC work closely with CBP to make recommendations on many trade functions.  Read more articles about COAC’s work with CBP here.

The following is an announcement today from the NCBFAA…

CBP is asking individuals interested in serving on the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) to apply for membership on or before July 24. COAC provides advice and makes recommendations to the Secretaries of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on all matters involving the commercial operations of CBP and related functions.

Under its charter, the COAC:

  • Advises the Secretaries of the Treasury and DHS on all matters involving the commercial operations of CBP, including advising with respect to significant changes that are proposed with respect to regulations, policies, or practices of CBP;
  • Provides recommendations to the Secretaries of the Treasury and DHS on improvements to the commercial operations of CBP;
  • Collaborates in developing the agenda for COAC meetings; and

Performs such other functions relating to the commercial operations of CBP as prescribed by law or as the Secretaries of the Treasury and DHS jointly direct.

Read the Federal Register Notice for information and application process here.

Learn more about the history and role of COAC here.

CustomsNow Bootcamp – ISF “how to”

June 15th, 2017


Ever wonder how EASY it is to file an ISF and how EASY it is to automate the filing? 

Well, now courtesy of the experts at CustomsNow, you can find out first-hand. Please join us on June 29th, 1:00 pm CST, so we can take the mystery out of this process for you.

Spend an hour with CustomsNow experts to see the filing process firsthand, then stick around for the Q&A.

Direct file made easy and accurate with incredible cost savings!  ”It’s what we do and we do it well”.  Hope you join us.

This event qualifies for 1.5 CCS Credits from the NCBFAA.

Develop the knowledge of your compliance team!

Space is limited.  Register today!

Where’d you go, Exchange Rates?

June 15th, 2017


CBP no longer providing for exchange rate queries in ABI.

In CSMS# 17-000336, June 8, 2017, CBP announced that currency exchange rates will now be found on only on their website, and that “As of July 8, 2017 the foreign currency exchange rates and its related currency rate query will no longer be provided via ABI.”

In the past, CBP has not traditionally published the exchange rates. Rather, they were made available to ABI providers through a query.  Most ABI providers have a written program that automatically queries the current rates on a daily basis, which then updates the tables within their system and ensures the correct exchange rate is automatically used in each entry.  This process will be no longer be available from CBP as of July 8th.

So, why has CBP published the rates now online and announced they will discontinue the query capability on July 8th?

Because originally, CBP did not intend to continue to provide the query in ACE at all, and indicated that the Trade would have to find their own source for this information.  This led to an outcry from the Trade, and in last week’s ACE Technical call it was mentioned that, “Due to pressure from Trade groups, etc., CBP will pursue adding this functionality in ACE”.  However, at this time, there is no ETA for the exchange rate query to be made available in ACE.

So, the interim solution is that the Trade will have to manually pull the online spreadsheets from, and software providers will need to come up with temporary programming to pull this information into their ABI applications.

One possible issue that may be encountered during this transition period, is the timeliness of these foreign exchange postings to  For example, in reviewing CBP’s posted exchange rate spreadsheets on Monday, June 12, the rates were only provided for shipments with an export date of June 9th or prior.  For shipments that were exported during the weekend there are no available rates.  Presumably CBP will be made aware of this issue and publish the rates more timely going forward.

CNI will continue to monitor and report on this topic as it develops.

Say “Goodbye” to blanket flagging in Reconciliation on July 8th, 2017

June 9th, 2017



It’s the same story we posted on January 10th, 2017, only this time it’s actually going to happen.


As a follow up to yesterday’s blog, CBP pulled out a bit of a surprise this week in announcing that reconciliation was finally moving to ACE, along with other Post Summary capabilities, effective July 8th, 2017.

With this deployment, US Customs will no longer apply ‘Blanket Reconciliation Flagging’ to entry summaries.  CBP has left it up to the importers and their brokers.  As a result, all reconciliation flagging must be done on an entry-by-entry basis.  Read the June 8, 2017 CSMS & Federal Register notice.

Importers that currently benefit from blanket flagging on their recon entries should work with their customs brokers to ensure entries are flagged in accordance with the importer’s requirements.  If self-filing*, importers should ensure that their ABI software providers’ systems are programmed accordingly.

Failure to properly flag entries for reconciliation, will require importers to submit 520(d)s, post-summary corrections or prior disclosures to correct issues that are otherwise handled by reconciliation, depending on the specific situation.

On yesterday’s ACE technical call, we were told that flags can only be added retroactively by sending a request to CBP HQ, however, we have yet to see a detailed explanation of the process.

By way of background, CBP announced in the December 12, 2016, Federal Register that:

  • CBP is streamlining the process for blanket flagging underlying entries for reconciliation.
  • Under the existing process, importers provided CBP a request asking that CBP input and apply a blanket flag to all underlying entries filed by the importer for a specific time period. Importers also identified the specific issue(s) for which they requested that CBP input and apply the requested blanket flag.
  • This document announces that effective January 14, 2017, importers no longer will submit requests asking that CBP apply a blanket flag on their behalf. Instead, importers may input and apply a blanket flag themselves. Importers who use blanket flagging must continue to identify the issue(s) they are flagging.

Please note that reconciliation flags are applicable ONLY to entry summary types 01, 02 and 06

 * CustomsNow™ self-filing clients have the ability to manage their recon flags at either the “blanket” level, or even at the Part/SKU level, a fantastic option. Learn more.

ACE Post Release Deployment – Hot off the press and one month to prepare!

June 8th, 2017


On June 8, 2017, CBP issued CSMS# 17-000334 – ACE Post Release Deployment, and published a Federal Register notice announcing the implementation of a series of new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) capabilities effective July 8, 2017.  These capabilities include Collections and Statements, Reconciliation, Drawback*, Duty Deferral and Liquidation.

A little history…  On December 12, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published notices announcing that this functionality would be deployed in ACE on January 14, 2017. The Trade expressed concern that this did not allow enough time for coding and testing.  On January 17, 2017, CBP published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the effective date for the test modifications would be “delayed indefinitely”, with rumors of late 2017.

However, in TODAY’s Federal Register notice, CBP states that they have “assessed stakeholder readiness for the mandatory transition of post-release capabilities in ACE” and that they, and the Trade, are comfortable with moving forward on July 8th, 2017.

Ready or not, here it comes!  The most critical aspect of this deployment is that blanket flagging for reconciliation will no longer be in effect starting July 8, 2017.  More to follow from CNI on this topic.

Questions related to the Federal Register notice may be emailed to CBP at

*Drawback capabilities – Please note that the drawback capabilities being deployed on July 8, 2017 are part of the ACE core trade processing capabilities, and include the following: 

• Consolidation to single entry type 47
• For electronic claims, submission of entire drawback package electronically
• System validations
• Integration with post release processes
• Improved system controls


CustomsNow to sponsor at AAEI Conference in Austin, Texas – June 20-22nd!

June 7th, 2017

aaei 2017

The AAEI 96th Annual Conference & Expo officially kicks off June 20th, in Austin, Texas and   CustomsNow™ is excited to be a sponsor!

CNI’s Karin Smith (CEO), Cynthia Schenk (VP Sales) and   Nic Adams (VP Client Services) will be there, so  please stop  booth #27 to say hello.

Additionally, we would be happy to schedule a private demo or meeting, so please email us at if you’re interested.

See you soon!  CustomsNow™

CustomsNow is a U.S. Customs-approved, ACE-certified ABI vendor and a fully Licensed     Customs Broker to provide the necessary support.  We’re focused on bringing automation & visibility to the U.S. import process.  Our clients are importers, brokers and other 3rd parties who need ACE ABI connectivity and automation for themselves or their clients.

CNI tools can make your importing life a little easier.  Tools like:

  •  ACE-certified ABI Software – Importers, brokers, forwarders, and more can file entries, in-  bonds, recons, PTTs with our simple, easy to use software.  Plus, we are a licensed Customs Broker    to provide our clients with excellent customer support.
  •  Import Trade Management (ITM) – A subscription-based solution for importers that stores ALL CBP & PGA data elements, including all the newbies!  Great as a work queue and provides an easy means to share this critical data with your broker.
  • Cargo Query System (CQS) – Another subscription-based solution which provides importers, forwarders, and other non-automated 3rd parties with immediate proof of CBP and PGA release info.  Now you can see what your broker and carrier see!