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Trade Transformation

W Coast Trade Symposium recap: E-commerce is THE hot topic

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

2017 w coast trade symp

 

CustomsNow attended CBP’s West Coast Trade Symposium last week in Phoenix.  The theme was “Looking Ahead Together: What’s Next for Trade?”  Generally, CBP stated that they would continue to focus on the Priority Trade Issues, as well as the Executive Orders issued by the Trump Administration in 2017.

CBP also intends to build on the foundation of ACE to perform smarter targeting of inbound cargo and will be working to reduce the amount of regulations as required (for every new regulation two must be eliminated.)

Finally, CBP is struggling to stay on top of the explosive growth in the number of small packages shipments driven by e-commerce.

E-commerce is clearly a pressing issue for CBP and here is why:

  • E-commerce sales were valued at $3.4B on Black Friday and are expected to exceed $500B annually by 2020
  • 52M small packages are shipped annually via express carriers
  • 130M small packages ship via air cargo
  • 275M small packages ship via the mail.  This compares to 100M in 2010, up 20% year over year
  • In a recent 5-day operation at JFK airport, CBP checked 3000 mail packages and seized over 1500 due to Intellectual Property Right (IPR), Agriculture, and illegal drugs reasons.  The operation was halted in just 3 days due to the sheer number of seizures.

CBP is just not staffed to handle and examine this volume of packages and they are trying to overcome this shortfall.  For instance, CBP will be piloting a program in Dallas whereby any small package shipments that need to be examined will have to be delivered to a Centralized Examination Station (CES) as opposed to CBP inspectors driving to the various air carrier facilities.

It was explained that most air and express carriers do a good job of prescreening their shipments to the US to ensure they are compliant with US laws and regulations.  Therefore, the criminals are turning to shipping via the mail since there is no prescreening performed at present.

The United States Postal Service is not required to provided CBP with advanced data that would allow CBP to target suspect shipments as they do with all other modes of transportation.  The STOP Act, which is working its way through congress, will address this deficiency.  The Global Direct Entry program is also helping the postal service to identify Trusted Traders for certain wholesalers so that CBP can concentrate on those shippers which are not in this program.

Another concern is that many of these packages fall under the $800 de minimis amount, also known as a Section 321 entry, and, therefore, do not have to be entered with CBP.  The intent of the de minimis rule is that a formal entry must still be made if “additional information, bonding or protection is required.”  Many shippers ignore this requirement and are therefore not declaring their drug shipments to the appropriate Partner Government Agency (PGA), specifically the FDA.

CBP is very concerned with the increase in small packages moving via the mail that contain Fentanyl, a very dangerous synthetic opioid and they shared this story.  Recently an Inspector brushed the lapel of his uniform to remove a substance.  He later overdosed on Fentanyl but, thankfully, survived. CBP is looking at utilizing spectrometers to examine small packages.  This would allow them to screen for illegal drugs without having to open the packages.

Incidentally, the only way, presently, to declare a Sec. 321 shipment to CBP is via the manifest.  E-commerce providers want the ability to declare them via ABI and CBP is investigating this option.  CustomsNow learned that the Trade Leadership Council is considering the creation of a new entry type code of ‘86’ for Sec. 321 shipments.  This way the appropriate PGAs can be declared and there will be no duties or fees due to CBP (in 2010 Congress estimated that if the de minimis amount was raised to $1,000 that would result in only $42M in lost revenue compared to the total amount of duties paid annually which was $37B in FY 2015.)

In addition to illicit drugs, CBP is focused on IPR infractions (“If you can make it, the criminals will fake it.”) It is estimated that companies involved with IPR employ 42M Americans and constitute 40% of our GDP.  Unfortunately, there were 32K IPR seizures last year with an estimated value of $461B.  86% of these shipments came from China and that number climbs to 88% when you add in Hong Kong.  Many of these shipments move as small parcel.

 

ACE Portal: Updated CBP guidance for veterans and newcomers

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

 

US Customs has updated web content to help users better understand the ACE Secure Data Portal —  perfect for members with existing portal access, and new trade members who are looking to gain access to the ACE Portal.

The new content will help ACE Portal users have a better understanding of the account process and to address frequently asked questions.  Note that none of the new content affects the structure of existing ACE Portal accounts.

And here’s a helpful one-sheet overview (click to expand):

ACE Basics - Portal Account

Get the latest scoop on CBP’s Simplified Processes Initiative

Friday, March 31st, 2017

On March 24, the NCBFAA sponsored a webinar on the Simplified Processes Initiative, presented by Randy Mitchell, Director, Commercial Operations and Entry Division, US Customs Office of Trade Policy & Programs.  Here’s a summary:

In 2011, CBP launched the Simplified Processes Initiative, a collaborative effort to develop innovative solutions to critical issues emerging at the intersection of trade facilitation, enforcement, and national security.  An early success was the implementation of the Simplified Entry (Cargo Release) pilot aimed at simplifying the importation process.

CBP reengaged the Simplified Processes Initiative in 2014 to advance border security and management; enhance U.S. competitiveness by enabling lawful trade and travel; and promote organizational innovation.

A Simplified Processes Working Group was established to identify challenges and discuss potential solutions to critical trade needs; gather requirements; and develop a proposed alternative. To date the group has identified five post-release areas of opportunity:

Monthly Summaries and National Statements

  • Filers may submit a monthly summary that includes releases over a calendar months’ time.
  • Each line of a monthly summary is considered a “reconfigured entry” that is subject to liquidation, protest and any other downstream process.
  • A separate National Financial Monthly Statement will include debits (duties, taxes, fees, bills and interest) and credits (refunds) netted as a total balance due for a calendar month.

If an importer elected to participate they would receive only one statement per month covering all ports of entry and there would be no Daily Statements to approve.  Also, the statements could include both Debits and Credits.

Liquidation

  • Allow for deemed liquidation of all consumption entries at one (1) year from the date of entry.
  • Implement processes to accommodate line-level liquidation.
  • Allow for the importer to obtain liquidation status details from their ACE portal account or CBP.gov.

This will allow lines within an entry to liquidate without having to wait for lines subjected to AD/CVD case reviews to be resolved.  Also, it would benefit Drawback filings since they are also filed at the line-level.

Protest

  • Transition the protest process to an electronic format (this has already occurred and all Protests must now be filed in the ACE Portal.)
  • Expand the electronic protest filing to a broader range of trade stakeholders such as attorneys, importers, and sureties.
  • Auto-populate numerous Entry Summaries onto one protest while providing protest statuses on ACE.

Reconciliation

  • File all reconciliation data electronically and only with necessary data elements.
  • Eliminate the requirement of having to file an 09 entry and extend liquidation for flagged entries/lines an extra year from the date of entry.
  • Manage reconciliation by account and permit filing at any Center or POE.

The vision is that Reconciliation entries will be replaced with Post Summary Corrections.  One of the biggest benefits would be that the Trade would only need to provide the reconciled amounts and not the original amounts since ACE already knows the original amounts.  Also, if no PSC is made, it indicates no changes are needed on the reconciled entry and is then subjected to liquidation. Finally, the process would allow a filer to retroactively flag/un-flag an entry/line through a PCS in ACE up to the deemed liquidation date.

Drawback

  • Develop a process for the claimant to submit a “drawback profile” electronically along with automating other Drawback processes in ACE.
  • Track/validate if the bond coverage is sufficient prior to processing an Accelerated Payment requests.
  • Initiate the Desk Review and response processes electronically, to include DIS.

ACE controls will track and validate if the bond coverage is sufficient prior to processing an Accelerated Payment Request.  Drawback profiles will be submitted electronically using the 5106 form.

These process improvements are continuing to be reviewed and approved as necessary and are subject to budget approval.  Therefore, there is no firm date on when they will be rolled out.   Meanwhile, here’s the PowerPoint presentation from the webinar > Simplified Process Initiative_Webinar_March_2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 8.54.41 AM

 

CBP offering free Simplified Processes Initiative webinar

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

The Simplified Processes Initiative (SPI) is an effort to develop a transformation strategy to optimize the process of importing goods through collaboration with the trade and CBP.

Click here to view a summary of the information that presenter Randy Mitchell, Director, Commercial Operations and Entry Division, Office of Trade, Trade Policy and Programs will cover during this free webinar on March 24 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 8.54.41 AM

ACE: New and updated PGA info posted on CBP.gov

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

pgasseal_aceCBP has recently posted new and updated information on ACE and Partner Government Agencies on CBP.gov.

 

++++++++++

Also posted on CBP.gov:

FDA Webinar – January 31, 2017fda1
The purpose of this webinar was to review updates to FDA’s Supplemental Guidance for ACE Version 2.5 and the related PGA samples. FDA also addressed trade questions during the webinar.
Webinar Recording | Transcript | Presentation | Technical Guides

 

 

ACE implementation winding down

Friday, February 24th, 2017

seal_ace

After several tumultuous years there is finally a light at the end of the ACE tunnel.  The next significant release falls into the “Post Release” bucket and covers drawback, liquidations, duty deferral, reconciliation, eBond, as well as a few more housekeeping measures.  This release, originally scheduled for January 14, 2017, was postponed in order to provide the trade with more time to code and test the changes.  CBP has not announced a deployment date.

Beyond these updates, the ACE Deployment Schedule lists only “TBD: Mandatory use of ACE for electronic filing of remaining PGA data, pending PGA regulatory updates” as outstanding work to be done.

Many in the trade are enjoying the respite from the barrage of changing functionality and requirements and looking forward to stabilizing their import programs while enjoying the benefits of ACE (ie: Post Summary Corrections, ACE Portal Reporting, etc.)

At CustomsNow™, our programmers, after some well-deserved down time, have returned to upgrading the functionality within our systems and we’re very excited about some of the coming enhancements including web-based functionality, the ability access our applications using phones and tablets, and much, much more.

CBP advises to disable auto-complete functionality for ACE Portal passwords

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

From US Customs’ January 2017 ACE Monthly Trade Update:

screenshot1

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ACE reporting: CBP publishes updates for protest filers and more

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

seal_aceWith the postponement of the deployment of ACE post-entry functionality, shippers now have some time to familiarize themselves with US Customs’ recent update of ACE reporting capabilities.

Specifically, the ACE Reports Team has recently deployed a new ACE Reports Workspace for Protest Filer Accounts and published new and updated ACE Reports documentation available in the “View ACE Reports Training Resources” page of the ACE Reports tool. The new report workspace and reference materials have been deployed to enhance user understanding of ACE Reports and support new enhancement made to the ACE Secure Data Portal. The new and updated items include:

  • New Protest Filer Workspace – The new Protest Filer workspace provides users access to the newly developed Protest Data Universe and the ES-403 Protest Details Report.
  • New ACE Reports Catalog for Trade Version 2016 -10 – This document provides a comprehensive inventory of all public “canned” reports currently available in ACE Reports.
  • Updated ACE Reports User Guide for Trade Version 1.1 (November 2016) – This user guide describes the steps to follow for viewing, modifying, and creating reports using the updated ACE Reports interface.

To access the new Protest Filer Workspace and review the ACE reports reference materials posted on the “View ACE Reports Training Resources” page, navigate to the “Home” tab from the ACE Reports tool. For more information on running ACE Reports, please see our series of ACE Reports Quick Training Videos on the “ACE Reports Training and User Guides” page of CBP.gov/ACE for step-by-step instructions on getting started with ACE Reports.

Breaking news! CBP postpones deployment of Jan 14 ACE post-entry functionality

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

seal_ace

 

From CSMS #17-000009:

 

Notice Regarding ACE – Postponement of the January 14 deployment
  • This notice is with regard to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).
  • The January 14, 2017, deployment of post release capabilities including  liquidation (with the exception of the electronic posting of the Notices of Liquidation on CBP.gov), drawback, reconciliation, duty deferral, collections, statements and the Automated Surety Interface will be postponed.  However, pursuant to the Final Rule published on December 12, 2016, CBP will post the Notices of Liquidation on CBP.gov effective January 14, 2017, as planned.
  • In consideration of stakeholder feedback and the complexity of the ongoing integration testing, CBP is providing additional time to prepare for the final core ACE deployment and ensure a smooth transition of liquidation, drawback, reconciliation, duty deferral, collections, statements and Automated Surety Interface capabilities in ACE. CBP will provide updated information and a new deployment date in the near future.
Office of Trade Relations, Office of the Commissioner
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

ACE: Recon “blanket flagging” to be discontinued on Jan 14

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

 

Calendar Icon with long shadow. Flat style. Date,day and

 

Attention recon filers!  Effective January 14, 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.

Failure to do so will require importers to submit 520(d)s, post-summary corrections or prior disclosures to correct issues that are otherwise handled by reconciliation.

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.

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.

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.