“Role of the broker” webinars coming

Last week, US Customs announced several upcoming webinars for soliciting comments on the proposed overhaul of current customs broker regulations (19 CFR Part 111).  CBP desires to modernize the regulations “to better reflect modern and efficient trade practices, and encourage brokers to be force multipliers for CBP’s trade facilitation efforts.”

The webinars commence on June 7th and extend through the end of September.  In addition, Customs officials will meet with local broker organizations this summer to expand the dialog.  Topics to be discussed include:

  • Continuing education for licensed brokers
  • “Business model alignment” between the trade and CBP (geography/districts)
  • Automation of customs broker exam and transforming licensing procedures
  • Allowing accredited brokers to evaluate importers’ ISA applications

Customs’ official announcement can be found here.  Also, more detail is available in CBP’s May 2012 document, “Trade Transformation – CBP Initiatives for 21st Century Trade” (pages 13-15).

CustomsNow to exhibit at AAEI Conference in Washington — June 3-5

We’re excited to share our direct filing import solutions with you at the AAEI conference in Washington, DC!

Proven software with hands-on trade compliance experience.

CustomsNow is the leading provider of ABI & AMS software and is unique in that we are both an ACE Certified ABI vendor and a fully licensed Customs Broker.  This combination allows us to support your import initiatives in a way that other software companies can’t.

  • Self file all – or just some – of your import entries and ISFs.  It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition
  • Direct file reconciliation entries, in-bond filings, e-manifests, AES and more
  • Increase compliance, control and visibility to your supply chain
  • Automate the process — keep headcount low while processing a high volume of transactions
  • Start filing without hiring additional staff…then roll out and ramp up as desired

As long-time industry professionals, we know what it takes to design, implement and manage a world-class direct filing program.  We’ve done it for some of the largest importers in the country and we can do it for you.

Here’s what a few of our clients are saying…

“The added compliance, speed of filing and cost benefits has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to a continued partnership with CustomsNow.”  – Anthony Melendez, Director of Imports and Customs Compliance, Wet Seal / Arden B.

“The knowledge and integrity of the CustomsNow team was a major factor in our decision to self-file.  They made the system integration an easy process.  Within two months of implementation we were self-filing even more entries than anticipated, thus further reducing our entry fee cost outlay.”  – Larry Matthews, Director of International Trade and Customs Compliance, Medtronic.

CustomsNow – simply delivering you the best-in-class SaaS technology with real-world compliance experience, and the industry’s best support at a cost you’ll be very happy with.

See you in Washington, DC– booth 412!

CBP’s 2012 West Coast Trade Symposium – CEEs and ACAS

US Customs’ 2012 West Coast Trade Symposium — the first ever held outside of Washington, DC — was a resounding success with hundreds of attendees from the trade as well as the federal government.  They symposium’s theme, “Transforming Trade for a Stronger Economy,” was clearly evident in key topics of discussion — CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs) and the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS)/Simplified Entry pilot.


  • The CEE concept was developed by CBP, with significant input from the trade, to expedite the import process for particular industries by consolidating industry/customs expertise into “one-stop shopping” administrative centers.  See our January 12 blog post for a more detailed discussion
  • Pilots for Centers for Pharmaceuticals, Health & Chemicals (NY) and Electronics (Long Beach) have been quite successful
  • New centers to launch by end of FY2012:  Automotive & Aerospace (Detroit) and Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals (Houston)

ACAS/Simplified Entry Pilots

  • ACAS allows CBP and TSA to receive advance security filing cargo data as a means to target air cargo shipments inbound to the US that may be high risk and require additional physical screening
  • ACAS enables express carriers, passenger air carriers, freight forwarders, and all-cargo air carriers to send receive advance security filing data and related action messages for all air cargo through CBP’s Automated Targeting System (ATS)
  • Providing cargo data electronically – and earlier – to CBP allows for faster clearance at ports while reducing risk
  • In pilot since November 2010 with carriers UPS, DHL, FedEx; next phase includes passenger carriers, freight forwarders
  • CBP decided to tie in Simplified Entry pilot because both pilot programs are focused on air transport, and both work to reducing the number of data elements that must be submitted for entry clearance
  • Customs has provided a helpful flow chart (page 9) that clearly displays how ACAS ties into the Simplified Entry process

Imports create US jobs!

This week, Imports Work, an organization comprised of dozens of US organizations and corporations, is marking “Imports Work for America Week,” highlighting how imports – not just exports – are key drivers of the US economy and job growth.  The event is celebrated as part of the United States’ designation of May as International Trade Month.

One of the organizations participating in this week’s events, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), documents specifically how imports foster and sustain job growth in just the apparel and footwear industries alone:

  • 98 percent of clothing and 99 percent of shoes sold in the US are produced overseas
  • These imports directly supply nearly 4 million US jobs, such as industry executives, mill workers, sourcing managers, retail associates, and many more
  • These imports also account for hundreds of thousands of US jobs in related fields, such transportation and dry cleaning
  • The median salary of the entire industry supply chain is $70,000
  • Factory, transportation jobs are well-paying, many in the $20-$25 per hour range

The AAFA blog post is available here.

US Customs to test document image system (DIS)

In a move to bring about additional ACE functionality, US Customs recently announced a test of a new Document Image System (DIS), which will allow for the electronic filing of certain import-related documents with CBP and other PGAs, instead of via conventional paper methods.

The test is open to importers and brokers who are already ACE entry summary filers, who have received approval from their CBP client representatives prior to participation.

The first phase of DIS testing will be limited to submission of documents that are “in response to a request [by CBP or PGA] for entry summary documentation or in response to a request for release documentation for certified ACE entry summaries.”

The types of documents that may be submitted during this phase of testing include:

  • Commercial invoices
  • Packing lists
  • Invoice working sheets
  • TSCA import certification forms
  • Specified EPA, APHIS and NOAA forms

One more point:  Any document submitted via DIS is deemed an electronic copy of an original document and subject to Customs’ recordkeeping requirements.

Additional information is available in the Federal Register announcement for DIS testing.