CBP to launch six new CEEs in 2013

Building on the success of the existing Centers of Excellence & Expertise,  US Customs has announced that six new CEEs will open in FY 2013:

1. Agriculture & Prepared Products:  Miami, FL

2. Apparel, Footwear & Textiles:  San Francisco, CA

3. Base Metals:  Chicago, IL

4. Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising:  Atlanta, GA

5. Industrial & Manufacturing Materials:  Buffalo, NY

6. Machinery: Laredo, TX

This will bring the number of CEEs to ten.

A vital component of CBP’S Trade Transformation efforts on the import front, “[t]hese virtual centers will provide one-stop processing to lower the trade’s cost of business, provide greater consistency and predictability and enhance CBP enforcement efforts.”

Entry cancellation for FDA merchandise at LA/LB Seaport

At a trade forum last week, CBP’s Entry Division at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport provided instructions for entry cancellations for FDA-regulated merchandise:

  • All cancellations for FDA-refused merchandise must be processed through Team Federal Drug Redelivery (FDR)
    • Exception – You may cancel your entry only if instructed by FDA to re-transmit the data
    • At no other time should you present a cancellation to entry with an outstanding FDA notice of sampling
  • Team FDA will refund any duties and fees due if the product was found to be prohibited
  • If all imported product was prohibited and subsequently exported or destroyed under CBP supervision, the entry will be submitted to the CBP Entry Team for cancellation by Team FDR

Additionally, US Customs’ procedures for general entry deletion and entry summary cancellation can be found here.

Now file paperless AD/CVD entries in ACE

ACE functionality continues to expand.  In a move to facilitate more paperless entries, US Customs recently announced that filers may transmit anti-dumping/countervailing duty (AD/CVD) entry summaries via EIP/RLF in ACE.  As the trade knows, this functionality is not available in ACS.

Now, these type 03 entries can be 100% paperless, although paper reimbursement certificates may be accepted (but not encouraged).

See CBP’s guidance for more details.

Hurricane Sandy — Interim processes for New York & Newark related cargo

In light of the closure of the Ports of New York and Newark due to Hurricane Sandy, US Customs has issued temporary processes relating to cargo release, entry summary and duty payments, including information relating to cargo diverted to other ports.

The official guidance can be found here.

Retroactive MPF — no interest should be assessed on timely payments

In a recent blog post, we noted that importers have been receiving invoices from CBP for payment of additional merchandising processing fees (MPF) for entries filed between October 1 and November 5, 2011 (due to an increase in MPF that was not assessed last year).

Now, there are reports that at least one port, Atlanta, has been sending these retroactive invoices with interest assessed up front (i.e., not assessed for payment after due date).    This is inconsistent with the posting on US Customs’ MPF web page that “CBP will not assess interest on bill amounts for the increased MPF.”

Of course, CBP may assess interest on payments made after the due date of the retroactive invoices.  But if importers have paid these bills in a timely manner, they can avoid the interest penalty.

Some Customs personnel have reported that there is a backlog in processing the payments, and as a result, interest may be inadvertently be assessed for timely payments.  In these instances, contact your Customs Specialist to discuss.  It’s likely that the matter will be resolved when the backlog is cleared and subsequent invoices issued.

To prevent confusion, we recommend that importers follow Customs’ advice for paying MPF:  “[M]ultiple bills may be paid with one check, as long as a supplemental spreadsheet is provided, which lists each bill number and bill amount.”  By providing this documentation, you can provide clear evidence of timely payment and avoid incorrect interest charges.