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Our “Thanks” to CBP and everyone who is contributing to the Texas recovery!

Friday, September 1st, 2017

cbp hurricane


Thank you to the many men, women, companies and government agencies who are contributing in so many ways to help Texas recover from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

The stories are amazing!

CBP has posted stories and pictures of their contributions, here.

Please help by donating through one of the many ways available, such as the Great Houston Community Foundation, or the The American Red Cross.


Changes announced to the Customs broker exam process!

Thursday, 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…

Wednesday, 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.

Target CEO blasts border adjustment tax at House hearing: ‘Americans will pay more’

Thursday, May 25th, 2017



  • The House of Representatives’ Ways and Means committee on Tuesday called on five experts — including Target CEO Brian Cornell and former President/CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. William Simon — to testify on the impacts of the Trump Administration’s proposed border adjustment tax in a hearing on the matter.
  • For Target, the proposed 20% border tax on imports would cause the big-box retailer’s tax rate to more than double from 35% to 75%, Cornell said Tuesday.
  • In contrast to many in the retail industry, William Simon, a retail and consumer products veteran who left his post as CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. in 2014 and is currently a senior advisor at private equity firm KKR, argued the border adjustment tax is in the best interests of the country — and the retail industry — if “properly implemented.”

Read full article.

Subscribe to the CustomsNow™ Monthly Trade Compliance Newsletter!

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017



Stay informed!

Don’t miss another edition of the CustomsNow™ Trade Compliance Newsletter, a one-stop shop for the latest US Customs and PGA updates, legal and regulatory changes, and trends affecting your supply chain.


Catastrophe looms at ports after Brexit, shipping industry warns

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Trucks entering Dover, the busiest truck port in the UK. Photograph: Graham Mitchell/Barcroft Images

Trucks entering Dover, the busiest truck port in the UK. Photograph: Graham Mitchell/Barcroft Images


From The Guardian:

  • The UK is facing an “absolute catastrophe” if it does not sort out a “frictionless and seamless” border at Dover and other ports, the shipping industry has warned.
  • The UK Chamber of Shipping, which represents more than 170 freight ship, tanker and cruise liner companies, has called on governments across Europe to urgently grasp the challenge, arguing that a problem for the UK will also be a problem for ports in Holland, Belgium, France and Ireland.

Read full article.



Retail industry undergoing sea change; direct filing with CustomsNow™ can help weather the storm

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

retailstoresclosing2017The US retail landscape is rapidly changing. Pundits cite numerous reasons — Amazon, oversupply of brick-and-mortar stores, changing consumer shopping habits, etc. — but this chart says it all.  Combined with closings in recent years, and more predicted, it’s clear that retailers who want to survive need to rethink their strategies.

For those retailers who are looking to cut significant costs out of their import supply chain, consider direct filing with CustomsNow.  In a time where companies are looking to outsource processes to save money, direct filing is the one process that every importer should perform in-house:

  • Realize cost savings of up to 90% off third-party filing fees, an estimated savings of $100,000 per 1,000 entries
  • Eliminate “extra” fees — lines, invoices, handling
  • Gain soft-dollar savings from reduced errors and post-entry workload

Self-filers also see improved compliance rates and gain valuable control over their supply chain.  And CustomsNow offers free support by Licesned Customs Brokers, who have decades of experience working for large retail importers.  Learn more.


Kevin K. McAleenan nominated for CBP Commissioner post

Thursday, April 6th, 2017




President Trump has nominated Kevin K. McAleenan to serve as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. McAleenan has served as the Deputy Commissioner since 2014 and currently functions as the agency’s Chief Operating Officer and senior career official.

Under Mr. McAleenan’s leadership, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has developed strategies that protect the Nation’s borders from terrorism, and attack transnational criminal networks, while ensuring the flow of legal commerce and travel.

Mr. McAleenan previously held several leadership positions at CBP—including launching its Office of Antiterrorism—and one of its legacy agencies.

In 2015, Mr. McAleenan received a Presidential Rank Award, which is the Nation’s highest civil service award.

He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College.

New executive orders on trade — ADD, CVD and more

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Seal_of_the_President_of_the_United_States.svgOn Friday, March 31, President Trump signed two executive orders related to trade.

1. The Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Enhanced Collection and Enforcement of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties and Violations of Trade and Customs Laws seeks to address uncollected antidumping and countervailing duties which were estimated to be $2.3 billion not collected in 2015.

  • This will done primarily “through bonds and other legal measures, and also would identify other appropriate enforcement measures.”
  • The Order also seeks to “ensure the timely and efficient enforcement of laws protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) holders from the importation of counterfeit goods.”
  • Finally, the Order directs the “Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, (to) develop recommended prosecution practices and allocate appropriate resources to ensure that Federal prosecutors accord a high priority to prosecuting significant offenses related to violations of trade laws.”

2. The Presidential Executive Order Regarding the Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits seeks to identify factors that result in a trade deficit in goods which exceeds $700 billion annually.  Within 90 days of the date of the order, the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with numerous other agencies, “shall prepare and submit to the President an Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits (Report).”

The purpose of the report is to:

  • (a)  assess the major causes of the trade deficit, including, as applicable, differential tariffs, non-tariff barriers, injurious dumping, injurious government subsidization, intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, denial of worker rights and labor standards, and any other form of discrimination against the commerce of the United States or other factors contributing to the deficit;
  • (b)  assess whether the trading partner is, directly or indirectly, imposing unequal burdens on, or unfairly discriminating in fact against, the commerce of the United States by law, regulation, or practice and thereby placing the commerce of the United States at an unfair disadvantage;
  • (c)  assess the effects of the trade relationship on the production capacity and strength of the manufacturing and defense industrial bases of the United States;
  • (d)  assess the effects of the trade relationship on employment and wage growth in the United States; and
  • (e)  identify imports and trade practices that may be impairing the national security of the United States.

Many in the Trade recognized Brenda Brockman Smith witnessing the signing of the Orders.


Amazon drone makes a delivery!

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017






Amazon completed its first public demonstration of a Prime Air drone delivery in the U.S. earlier this week, ferrying sunscreen to attendees at an Amazon-hosted conference in Palm Springs, Calif.

See full story and video.