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ACE (Automated Commercial Environment)

New ACE functionality deployed

Friday, April 11th, 2014

seal_aceHere’s a quick summary for new ACE capabilities that US Customs deployed recently:

  • Expansion of the ACE Cargo Release (Simplified Entry) pilot to include:
    • In-bond movements and partial quantities for ocean and rail shipments
    • Basic processing for truck shipments
    • Ability for filers to certify for ACE Cargo Release from their ACE Entry Summary record for air, ocean and rail shipments (Certified from Summary)
  • New ACE entry summary validations for Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) and Complex Duty Calculations (i.e., those entry summary lines with two HTS classifications
  • Migration of the AES to the ACE platform for CBP and PGA users, and support for new Census Bureau and Bureau of Industry and Security regulations

CBP and the trade are also testing Cargo Release transactions for ocean shipments and PGA Message Set transaction for the USEPA, which when vetted, will be deployed in a future ACE release.

Reminder:  Mandated use of certain ACE functionality will commence in May 2015 and mandated use of ACE for all trade processing will be required by October 2016.  Make sure now that your ABI software is ACE-certified to avoid any problems next year!

A common misunderstanding about ACE

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

seal_aceMany in the trade have been operating under a misconception about US Customs’ Automated Commercial Environment – that they may file their customs entries directly in ACE.  In response, in its ACE Monthly Trade Update for March 2014, CBP issued the following clarification:

The Automated Broker Interface (ABI) is the only approved method available for filing entry and entry summaries in ACE. ACE ABI CATAIR-developed software is available through either a CBP-approved ABI software vendor, a self-developer or a service center.

The ACE Secure Data Portal does not have entry and entry summary filing capabilities, nor are there plans for building such capabilities. However, the ACE Secure Data Portal does offer key features such as (1) creating blanket declarations used in entry summary transactions, (2) receiving and responding to CBP forms and uploading solicited documents and (3) running ACE reports, and more.

If you are an importer considering self-filing your customs entries, make sure that the ABI software provider you select offers an ACE-certified system, so you will be ready when ACE begins to supersede ACS as US Customs’ system of record starting next year.

Importers use ACH debit to streamline duty payments

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Savvy importers who take advantage of paying their customs duties via Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit realize many benefits.  As outlined by CBP, these importers:

  • Obtain up to an additional 10 days to pay duties, taxes, and fees on quota and other special merchandise classes
  • Reduce administrative processing and costs
  • Pay all ABI statements in a central location
  • Reduce administrative errors related to check processing
  • Eliminate lost or stolen check problems
  • Control cash flow by identifying the exact day to allocate funds

Additionally, users of ACH may use avail themselves of the Periodic Monthly Statement (PMS) feature in ACE which provides its own benefits, such as improved cash flow –  payments of duties and fees are deferred until the 15th day of the following month, offering up to a 45 day interest-free float on this cash

customsPrior to using ACH, the import compliance department must work with the company’s finance or accounting group to set up internal payment processes and then coordinate with CBP to connect with ACH.  After that, the ACH debit process is straight-forward — just 5 simple steps to paying import duties.

The ACH debit process is quite secure; CBP has taken numerous steps to safeguard the payer’s account information and ensure that the correct amount is debited, which will satisfy even the most conservative finance departments.

ACH debit may be used by both importers who self-file their customs entries and those who use a customs broker.  (CBP also offers an ACH credit process for importers who prefer that method of payment).


Obama’s Executive Order to speed cargo clearance

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

President_Barack_ObamaPresident Obama has signed an Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses.  The move, expected to especially benefit small and medium-sized businesses, calls for the completion of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016.

According to the Executive Order’s Fact Sheet, the ITDS, on which work has been underway for several years, will enable “businesses to transmit, through an electronic ‘single-window,’ the data required by the the U.S. Government to import or export cargo.”  Currently, the trade must submit data — most often in paper format — to at least 47 participating government agencies (PGAs) having possibly having jurisdiction over cargo.  Soon, all “paperwork” will be submitted electronically, “reducing time for clearing goods from many days to, in some cases, seconds.”

The ITDS initiative is a vital part of CBP’s ongoing Trade Transformation initiative, the agency’s approach to modernizing trade.


CBP expands ACE Cargo Release test to ocean and rail

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

seal_aceAs published in yesterday’s Federal Register, US Customs has increased the scope of the current ACE Cargo Release test — formerly known as Simplified Entry test — to include ocean and rail modes of transport. (Previously, the test was limited to air transport only).

In addition, CBP is inviting more participants to join the test.  Eligible participants include self-filing importers and brokers who use an ACE-Certified ABI system (such as CustomsNow’s) to file entries.  Other eligibility criteria apply, and the test is limited to certain ports only.

See the official notice at CSMS 14-000071, and our previous blog posts on the ACE Cargo Release pilot.


Faster, better access to AD/CVD instructions

Friday, January 31st, 2014

seal_aceUS Customs has announced the launch of an updated website,, that improves the experience of users searching for antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) instructions.

The website is fed automatically with data from ACE, the system of record for AD/CVD messages and case information, and provides information on:

  • AD/CVD cash deposits
  • Liquidation
  • Scope rulings
  • Other public AD/CVD instructions

ACE users can also access this information directly from the ACE portal.  Moreover, ACE account holders can view “extensive AD/CVD official case information,” such as:

  • AD/CVD case numbers
  • Exporter and manufacturer names
  • AD/CVD cash deposit rates

Omitted invoice? Don’t use PSC process

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

genericInvoiceIn CSMS #14-000027, US Customs reminds the trade not to use a Post-Summary Correction (PSC) (or PEA) filing to submit invoices that were omitted from an entry filing.  Rather, filers should file a new entry with the missing invoice(s).

CBP will revise the ACE Entry Summary Business Rules and Process document to reflect this process and will post a CSMS when complete.




New ACE functionality deployed!

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Here is a very helpful graphic from US Customs that summarizes new functionality in ACE, which was part of CBP’s Deployment B earlier this week.  More details are available in CSMS#14-000009.

ace graphic cropped

CBP to advise on ACE updates at software conference

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

seal_aceIn CSMS #13-000604, US Customs announced that it will present on upcoming changes to ACE at a one-day NCBFFA software developers conference to be held in the Baltimore area on February 25, 2014.

Topics include operational and technical changes related to:

  • Entry Summary Accounts and Revenue (ESAR)
  • Cargo Release (including PGA Message Set)
  • Exports
  • E-bonds

Per CBP, “these sessions will be very valuable in preparing importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, and their software developers for the upcoming deployments of ACE functionality.”

See registration details.


Recent ACE updates

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

seal_aceFrom US Customs’ November 2013 “ACEopedia”….

New ACE functionality deployed on November 2, 2013 includes:

  • ACE Cargo Release (also known as Simplified Entry) pilot enhancements that allow electronic entry corrections and cancellations, integration of in-bond movements, split shipments (hold all and immediate delivery), and partial quantities (without in-bond) and an update of the ACE Cargo Release user interface for CBP users. (see more details here).
  • The software code necessary to support PGA Message Set pilots with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and a single accept/reject message for the Entry Summary response to trade filers. The PGA Message Set pilots are scheduled to begin in early FY 2014.
  • Entry Summary Validations related to Harbor Maintenance Fees and Classification
  • Streamlined findings input for CBP Agriculture Specialists.