Highlights from the Trade Support Network (TSN) plenary session

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.

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