In our experience, CustomsNow™ has seen importers who are participating in CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) program have quite a positive experience. Primarily, the program provides these importers with the opportunity to educate the CEE staff regarding their businesses, reducing the need for separate and often duplicate port requests, slowing cargo. Moreover, the CEE staff has been doing a remarkable job advocating on the importers’ behalf in certain situations. For example, the issuance of CF28s are no longer duplicated at the port level. In addition, the CEEs can assist with the reduction of redundant cargo exams at the port of entry.
The CEEs seem to be living up to their goal that “[t]he Centers were established to increase uniformity of practices across ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide, and further strengthen critical agency knowledge on key industry practices.”
The only slight downside, according to some importers, is that the volume of requests for electronic invoices (AIIs) at the entry summary level tends to increase, at least initially. It appears that the Centers works hard to learn the nuances of the importers business transactions, then, over time the AII requests lessen, leaving the CEE in a good position to provide that tailored support. So a little extra time invested by the importer up front can significantly payoff down the road.