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Trade Support Network (TSN)

ACE: CBP hard at work integrating 47 PGAs

Monday, August 26th, 2013

seal_ace

As importers know, US Customs does not operate in a vacuum in regulating the flow of goods into US ports.  Rather, there are 47 other Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) that have some degree of oversight of shipments for entry.  As CBP gears up for full deployment of ACE in 2016, all PGAs must be integrated with ACE, creating a “single window” for trade processing.

The International Trade Data System (ITDS) is a federal inter-agency program that assists PGAs in identifying, documenting, and executing their plan to leverage ACE to improve business operations and further agency missions.

In a recent presentation for the Trade Support Network (TSN), CBP highlighted its work with the ITDS Task Force and provided a current status of ACE integration for PGAs:

  • CBP meeting with FDA every two weeks to work onboarding plan
  • Near term PGAs:
    • Data:  Census, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    • Export licensing:  Bureau of Industry and Security, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls
    • Hazardous waste monitoring:  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • PGAs currently onboard:
    • DIS:  National Marine Fisheries Service, Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, EPA, Defense Contract Management Agency
    • Interoperability:  FSIS, Agriculture Marketing Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Consumer Product Safety Commission
    • PGA Message Set (October):  EPA, FSIS

(TSN briefing presentation > Stakeholder Webinar 080813-ALL)

ACE: Complexities in shutting down ACS

Monday, June 18th, 2012

US Customs is making great strides in rolling out ACE.  Entry filers already have the ability to file entry types 01, 03, and 11 in ACE, which represents over 95% of the entries filed annually.

Presently, however, the vast majority of entries continue to be filed in the legacy ACS system.  The entry summary information is then transferred to ACE which is “CBP’s system of record.”  Simultaneously maintaining two very large systems, and their databases, while attempting to keep then in sync, is very expensive for CBP and requires more programmers.

In order to reduce costs CBP is looking into requiring that entry types 01, 03, and 11 be filed in ACE.  Previously CBP’s position was that the compulsory filing of entries in ACE would not begin until ACE could handle all entry types.

One concern for the trade is the lack of entry edits in ACE today.  CBP plans to begin work on these edits in 2012 (see ACE Priorities and Work Plan document), but it is unclear if all of the edits in ACS will be replicated in ACE.  ABI vendors may need to update their systems to include the edits that CBP does not program into ACE.

Another worry is that current Remote Location Filing requirements do not allow for the filing of ADD/CVD (type 03) entries.  CBP has been encouraged to allow for the filing of type 03 entries remotely.

Finally, surety agents have expressed a concern about their ability to receive data on bonds they underwrite — and for the related entries filed under those bonds — from Customs through the Automated Surety Interface via ACS.  How will this work with ACE?

The Trade Support Network, an advisory board of trade representatives, provides guidance to Customs on ACE issues, including the decommissioning of ACS.   You can monitor their progress here.

ACE — emphasis and participation growing

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

As reported in American Shipper, the number of entries filed in ACE (as opposed to ACS, which is being phased out), has increased from 1% to 3% as of November 2011, a small yet signficant jump.  This is no doubt due to recent ACE enhancements, as well as the growing encouragement by CBP, and National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, for the trade to transition to filing entries in the ever-improving ACE.

US Customs’s emphasis on ACE is quite apparent from the agency’s 2011 ACE Wrap-up:

January

  • CBP hosted a Webinar for brokers and importers on Working with ACE Forms and Declarations

February

  • CBP deployed fixes to AD/CVD Messages and the Entry Summary Universe report dates

April

  • CBP made a security update to the ACE Portal discontinuing the use of SSL 
protocol while maintaining the use of the TLS protocol
  • CBP hosted the 2011 Trade Symposium

May

  • A revised version of the Entry Summary Business Rules and Process Document 
was posted to CBP.gov

June

  • The first PSC entry summary was filed successfully in ACE production
  • A draft version of the PGA Message Set was posted to CBP.gov CBP successfully 
deployed Post Summary Corrections
  • An updated version of the Post Summary Corrections Web Based Training was 
made available to the trade

July

  • A link was provided from the ACE Portal to the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Portal for accounts to receive their monthly ISF Progress Reports
  • CBP began sharing data from the ACE Truck e-Manifest system with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

August

  • e-Manifest: Rail and Sea Web Based Training was made available to the trade
  • CBP successfully deployed ACE e-Manifest: Rail and Sea

September

  • CBP hosted a Webinar for brokers and importers on Post Summary Corrections
  • Mandatory use of post summary corrections for entry summaries file in ACE
  • CBP delivered the new Courtesy Notice of Liquidation Report
  • CBP hosted the Trade Support Network Plenary session

October

  • CBP hosted a Webinar for importers on the Courtesy Notice of Liquidation report

November

  • CBP began successfully accepting ocean manifests from trade participants in ACE

December

  • CBP began successfully accepting rail manifests from trade participants in ACE
  • Officers at Baltimore, Brownsville, and Buffalo began using
  • ACE M1 for all ocean 
and rail processing
  • CBP hosted a Webinar for rail and sea carriers on ACE portal navigation
  • CBP hosted a Webinar for rail and sea carriers, brokers and importers on running 
the new Multi-Modal Manifest Reports

The America Shipper article, “ACE participation picks up,” can be found here. (site registration required).  The ACE wrap-up, and other ACE related news, are available in CBP’s December 2011 ACE Trade Account Owner Update.

September-October 2011 ACE Trade Account Owner Update

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

US Customs has just issued its September-October 2011 ACE Trade Account Owner Update.

Many of the update’s highlights have been covered recently in this blog:

Also of note in the update are:

  • Trade Outreach Webinars now available include “CBP Role of the Broker,” “CBP Account Management Restructuring,” and ”ACE Post Summary Corrections.”
  • Upcoming changes to data visibility for PSCs.

The ACE Trade Account Owner Update is available here.

Highlights from the Trade Support Network (TSN) plenary session

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The Trade Support Network (TSN), a group of trade representatives who provide input to US Customs for the design and development of modernization projects, such as ACE, met in Arlington, VA,  for its plenary session last month.   Following is a summary of the highlights of the meetings.

Overall Message

In the current economic state, TSN’s priority is to help US Customs drive down costs for both importers and CBP, such as less exams of cargo and simplified entry processing.    CBP is under significant pressure from Congress to get ACE up-and-running in order to receive funding to complete the project.  Customs must show that entries are being filed in ACE and parts of ACS are being turned off.

Agency Structure

Cindy Allen, formerly with the trade, joined CBP around 1 year ago and is in charge (Exec. Director, ACE Business Office, OIT).  She is doing a fantastic job of getting ACE back on track and has a great understanding of how it’s going to work.    She has a new boss in Allen Gina, a 29 year veteran of CBP, and a new Exec. Director, Cargo Systems and Program Office, OIT, in LindaJacksta.  Rich DiNucci, who headed up 10+2, is also on the team now.

Post Summary Corrections

As reported in this blog on September 20, PSC functionality was delivered June 4, and it became mandatory to file PSCs instead ofPEAs effective last month.  PSCs may be filed 270 calendar days from date of entry, but cannot be filed within 20 calendar days of the scheduled liquidation date.  Filers can request “accelerated liquidation” to get a quick bill/refund but then will forfeit an opportunity to file another PSC.   It’s a full-replace of the entry and CBP will maintain all versions of entries.  Importers should ensure that their ABI applications also keep versions of the entry before filing PSCs in order to keep an adequate record of their transactions with CBP.

Additionally, when the PSC is filed, the entry goes into “customs status” and CBP will remove the scheduled liquidation date.  Currently filers can query the entry to get some insight as to the status, but long term there will be a UC message to all filers associated with the entry detailing the status and new liquidation information.  Most PSCs filed to date (around 100) were a “pass through” meaning they did not require CBP involvement.  Note to brokers: You should review your powers of attorney to make sure your clients haven’t limited your ability to file PSCs.

Cargo Release

For this project, there is a new approach to requirement gathering – A Concept of Operations (CONOPS) has been created and all requirements mapped back to the CONOPS.  Currently they are detailing the system requirement, with input from the trade and CBP field offices.  These functional requirements, and the functional decomposition should be completed by June 2012.  The goal is to deploy a subset of functionality within the next 18 months (then turn off selectivity in ACS)

E-Manifest: Rail & Sea

Allows holds to be placed/removed at the conveyance, container, master bill level as well as the house bill of lading level.  CBP will provide brokers with a “broker download” to assist in populating the entry header.  Nine early adopters will begin filing their manifest in this new system in the coming weeks in 3 ports.  ETA for full deployment is January 2012, then CBP will begin decommissioning AMS in ACE.  This will enable true visibility on which PGA has held merchandise and the reason for the hold.

ACE Technical Discussion (Linda Jacksta)

Remaining In-Scope:  E-Manifest, Cargo Processing and release, Remaining Entry Types, Collections (lots of emphasis), and Exports.  Trying to leverage existing functionality with ACE or any other federal agency systems.

Entry Simplification

See our blog post of October 4 for details.

PGA Panel Discussion

FDA is replacing OASIS with MARCS at the end of this year.  A component of MARCS is PREDICT which allows FDA to automatically validate AoC qualifiers.  No more AoC codes will be required in ACE as they will be mapped based on the field definition.  Filers will have better visibility to the status and can receive their Notice of Sampling via the system.

Simplified entry process pilot expected soon

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

US Customs said last week that it has made great strides towards establishing a simplified entry process.  After having worked closely on this issue with the Trade Support Network, a group representing the trade, CBP said to expect a Federal Register notice soon to announce a trial program and solicit participants.

The simplified entry is designed to reduce the number of documentation requirements on the entry, which will streamline the process and reduce costs for both importers and Customs.  The majority of the ISF data elements, but not all, will be required fields.  It will also include additional data elements, such as 10-digit HTS code, estimated value, and an entry number; however, importers will no longer need to be concerned with including the manifest quantity.

Simplified entries will be available for ocean, air, rail, and truck shipments.  Importers must be in Tier 2 or Tier 3 of the C-TPAT program, file their simplified entries in ACE, and meet a few other requirements to avail themselves of the new program.

More details on the simplified entry program are available in the American Shipper article, “CBP makes headway on simplified entry,” available here.  (site registration required for access to entire article).  In addition, Customs has provided additional information in the “Simplified Processes Fact Sheet,” which is posted on AAEI’s website.