Navigating ACE – free CBP webinar — register by Nov 1

US Customs (CBP) has announced an upcoming free webinar for importers and brokers who would like to maximize the usefulness of their ACE accounts.  The webinar, entitled “Navigating ACE: How to Get the Most Out of Your Portal Account,” is scheduled for Wednesday, November 3, 2010 from 2 – 3:30 PM (EDT).

Register here before close of business on Monday, November 1.

The official CBP announcement is available here.

How are you preparing for CBP’s intent to increase audit activity in the coming months?

At a recent American Association of Exporters & Importers (AAEI) Western Regional conference, Bob Allen of Customs & Border Protection’s (CBP) Regulatory Audit unit stated that the agency plans to increase its audit staff by 50+ over the next several years with a goal of auditing importers identified through its risk based approach.   Mr. Allen indicated that, from an enforcement and penalty standpoint, CPB expects that an importer will have a comprehensive understanding of their import operations, even if the importer outsources its customs compliance to a third party.

In order to assist importers in gaining visibility into their import process, and to help avoid audit pitfalls, CustomsNow offers a high level, low cost review of your “Importer Trade Activity” (ITRAC) report.

This report can identify:

  • thorough understanding of your US import operations
  • risk areas where penalties and fines may be assessed for non-compliance with Customs and trade laws
  • duty savings and potential planning opportunities such as “First Sale for Export”, FTZs and other applicable special trade programs

For more information on our ITRAC review program, please contact CustomsNow.

CBP announces open enrollment for C-TPAT

US Customs (CBP) has just announced that open enrollment for C-TPAT is available for the following business types related to the U.S. import supply chain cargo handling and movement:

  • U.S. Importers of record
  • U.S./Canada Highway Carriers
  • U.S./Mexico Highway Carriers
  • Rail Carriers
  • Sea Carriers
  • Air Carriers
  • U.S. Marine Port Authority/Terminal Operators
  • U.S. Air Freight Consolidators, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC)
  • Mexican and Canadian Manufacturers
  • Certain Invited Foreign Manufacturers
  • Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers
  • Third Party Logistics Providers (3PL)
  • Long Haul Highway Carriers in Mexico

 Find the official announcement here.

CBP updates the “10+2” ISF FAQs

An updated version of Custom’s ISF FAQs, dated July 9th, 2010 was recently posted to the website. Click here to view.

Note that some of the newest changes to the ISF programming will not be available until mid August at a minimum as they have not been published in the CATAIR or CAMIR implementation guides. The new functionality that will not be immediately available includes:

• ISF Submission Type Changes

• Late ISF Filing (No Bonds)

• ISF Type 11 coded transaction (Informal Shipments)

Remember that all questions and comments about the new FAQs may be sent to the mailbox.

Reconciliation: Customs’ how-to guide

Need information about the specifics of filing of a reconciliation (recon) entry with US Customs?  Then check out CBP’s hard-to-find publication, Automated Commercial System (ACS) Reconciliation Prototype:  A Guide To Compliance, Version 4.0

Published in 2004, and still the most current CBP guidance, the guide offers detailed instructions for such things as flagging entry summaries, filing recons, structure and submission of recons, payments and refunds, and more.

Is your company best-in-class when it comes to global trade management?

Of course, it’s always prudent to review and benchmark your company’s global trade management (GTM) practices or goals.  Some questions you may ask yourself include:

  • Is your company focused on improving global trade compliance this year?
  • Which GTM areas is your company prioritizing for improvement for the next 12 months?
  • Are you monitoring key trade compliance trends and new regulations at a global level?

Aberdeen Group, a leading provider of fact-based business research, provides a convenient tool for you to focus your review – its Annual Global Trade Management Survey.  By participating in the survey, qualified participants receive a FREE copy of the final report (a $399 value) publishing on or before Sept 30, 2010.

You might consider participation in the survey if:

  • You wish to know if your company is engaging in GTM best practices
  • You want to see what others in your industry are doing with respect to GTM
  • You are considering incorporating GTM components in your business but are not sure where to start

For more information and to take the survey click here.

Get ready for C-TPAT annual review

Does your company participate in US Customs’ Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program?  CBP will be requesting that you update your company profile, contacts and security profile in 2011.   Starting on January 1, 2011, Customs will begin emailing C-TPAT participants, providing them with 90 days notice to complete their annual review.

The updates are to be completed online via the C-TPAT Security Link Portal, using Customs’ handy step-by-step guide.  For additional information, check out CBP’s detailed FAQ document.

CBP’s Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) full of useful information

Expanding access to what was once only available to those select few who had access to an ABI system, US Customs (CBP) has now created a free, searchable database of messages that are of interest to many:  ABI Filers, ACE Event Participants, ACE Portal Accounts, ACE Reports Users, Air Carriers, Ocean Carriers, Periodic Monthly Statement Participants, Rail Carriers and Truck Carriers.

Not only that, CPB has launched an e-mail subscription service which provides timely notification of new messages based on each or any combination of item groups.  Groups consist of  Automated Broker Interface, ACE Outreach Events, ACE Portal Accounts, ACE Reports, Air Manifest, Cuentas en el Portal de ACE (Spanish), Ocean Manifest, Rail Manifest, Transportistas de Camion (Spanish) and Truck Manifest.

Use the CBP’s CSMS subscription form to select your area of interest and get your name added to the list. 

Happy Reading!

Fully electronic entry filing and duty payment – even in your “home” port

Importers that “direct file” their entries with US Customs (CBP) reap many benefits, including faster processing of their filings.  In that regard, direct filers have a clear advantage by being able to transmit an electronic invoice to the remote port of entry, whenever requested by Customs, prior to the release of the goods.  However, some importers incorrectly assume that if the goods are clearing in the importer’s “local” port, the importer must revert back to sending physical documents via a messenger for both release and duty payment purposes.

Happily, that is not the case.  As confirmed by CBP’s Remote Location Filing Team at Headquarters, the process remains the same, regardless of the port of entry.  So, when an entry response from CBP is “Invoice Required,” the importer can easily complete the electronic invoice within their ABI application and transmit it to CBP for review.  This not only saves money spent unnecessarily on paperwork processing and messenger fees, but it actually gets your shipments cleared faster!  In just a matter of seconds, an invoice can be completed, transmitted and available in the CBP entry clerk’s inbox for review and approval.

For duty payment processing, the same is true.  An electronic invoice is simply transmitted prior to payment approval for all “non-paperless” entries on the statement.  If CBP requests any paper documents, they will do so via a CBP Form 28, post summary.

For more information ,  all CBP messages related to Remote Location Filing and Electronic Invoice Program can be found here.

Upcoming AAEI events

Save the dates for two upcoming must-attend American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) events: 

  • Winter Seminar, January 27, 2011, Washington, DC
    • Advice From The Trenches:  Practical Approaches & Ideas For Your Trade Compliance Program (register)
  • 90th Annual Conference & Expo, June 5-7, 2011, New York City (take a survey)