New ISF liquidated damages warrant auditing ISF filings in ACE


In light of US Customs’ announcement that it will be assessing liquidated damages for ISF violations starting July 9, importers should take affirmative steps to monitor whether their ISF filings are timely and accurate.

Specifically, importers who self-file their ISFs as well as those who use a third party to file ISFs can access reports, via ACE, to audit compliance.  Importers should use ACE for this purpose, even if the ISFs were filed in ACS (CBP’s legacy system that ACE will replace), as ACS filings are automatically sent to ACE, CBP’s new system of record.

To access ACE, importers must first establish an ACE portal account (see CBP’s guidance on this topic).

To gain access to ACE’s ISF portal and run the appropriate ISF reports, follow the instructions in CBP’s guidance document ACE – Accessing ISF Portal and Reports.



The countdown to ACE — get ready!


seal_aceLast week, representatives of US Customs and the trade presented at workshop, “ACE: Developing Your Game Plan,” hosted by the Los Angeles Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association (LACBFFA).  Here are some key takeaways:

Brokers and self-filing importers were strongly encouraged to migrate now to ACE, rather than waiting until the following deadlines.  For self-filers, make sure that your ABI provider’s software is ACE-certified, as CustomsNow is.

  • December 31, 2015 — mandated use of manifest and cargo releases in ACE
  • December 31, 2016 — mandated use of all remaining ACE features
  • More than 99% of entry summaries (types 01, 03 and 11) can be filed in ACE right now

ACE Benefits

  • ACE entry summary participation allows filers to:
    • Eliminate paper entry summaries
    • Receive faster CBP response
    • Decrease courier and administrative costs
  • Current and upcoming features require ACE entry summary filing
    • Cargo release/simplified entry
    • Electronic corrections and cancellations
    • Partner Government Agency (PGA) message set
    • Document image system
  • As for cargo release/simplified entry, the benefits include:
    • Enhanced cargo security
      • Allows CBP and the trade to identify and address potential risks earlier in the process
    • Streamlined release of cargo
      • Earlier risk assessment decisions
      • Earlier and more detailed messaging
    • Reduced transaction costs
      • Reduces costs for importers as CBP will request filing data only once
      • Greater predictability, allowing importers to make logistical arrangements in advance of arrival
      • Reduces “exceptions” needing special processing after arrival

ACE entry summary filers can benefit from additional functionalities, including:

  • File type 03 entry summaries using Remote Location Filing (RLF)
  • Conduct expanded analysis using data only available to ACE entry summary filers through the ACE Portal Reporting tool
  • Gain access to an expanded AD/CVD query
  • Perform electronic census overrides electronically from the ACE and reduce instances of electronic invoice transmission
  • Obtain more information from the ACE entry summary query than from the ACS entry summary query
  • Transmit Post Summary Corrections (PSCs) electronically and avoid the paper Post Entry Amendment (PEA) process

Enhanced reporting — importers who self-file, or those whose brokers are using ACE-certified ABI software, can:

  • Monitor their compliance
  • Monitor their broker’s compliance
  • Monitor their bond sufficiency
  • Monitor liquidations
  • Identify unauthorized filer of entries (protect against importer ID theft)
  • Monitor HTS numbers as well as trade preference programs
  • Monitor periodic monthly statement activity
    • End of month accruals for unpaid duty
    • Cash flow projections





GSP set to expire on July 31

From a recent CBP website posting:

The Generalized System of Preferences (“GSP”) trade preference program is due to expire on July 31, 2013.  CBP has no information as to whether or not this preference program will be renewed and if it is renewed, whether there will be a lapse period, or whether there will be a retroactive clause providing for a refund of claims made during such a period.

When this last happened in 2011, Congress ultimately acted to retroactively extend the GSP and allowed for reimbursement for duties paid on GSP-eligible merchandise that was entered during the expiration period.  However, Congress simultaneously increased the MPF rate to offset the estimated cost of lost tariffs associated with expanding the GSP benefits.


CustomsNow to exhibit at AAEI Conference in Washington — June 16-18


aaei 2013 conf

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

Proven software with hands-on trade compliance experience.

CustomsNow is the leading provider of ABI 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 106!


Importers beware — CBP to assess liquidated damages for ISF violations

Effective July 9, 2013, US Customs will now add liquidated damages to its arsenal of enforcement options for ISF violations.  CBP has essentially given ISF filers a nearly 4 1/2 year grace period from this type of enforcement, relying on manifest holds and “non-intrusive inspections” to address violations up to now.  Next month, CBP can issue liquidated damages of $5,000 per violation for the submission of an inaccurate, incomplete or untimely 10 + 2 filing.

Given that CBP has raised the ante, importers may wish to avoid relying on third parties, and take control by self-filing their ISFs.  No license is required to do so, and self-filing is easy with our Customs-certified software.


CBP opens final three CEEs

US Customs has announced that it will launch the final three Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs) — Agriculture & Prepared Products in Miami, Apparel, Footwear & Textiles in San Francisco, and Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising in Atlanta.

As reported here previously, the now 10 CEEs are the result of a collaborative effort between CBP and the trade to create a virtual one-stop processing center for imports that fall within broad industry categories (although each category is based in a specific port, CBP experts for that category are linked virtually to that CEE even if they work remotely).  As part of CBP’s Trade Transformation efforts, the CEEs lower the trade’s cost of business, provide greater consistency and predictability and enhance CBP enforcement efforts for transactions within each center.

Some additional points from Adrienne Braumiller, Esq., of Braumiller Schulz, LLP, from her recent post, “Centers of excellence and expertise:  a boon for importers”:

  • In a recent survey of the trade community,
    • 75% of participants indicated that they were very satisfied with their membership in a center
    • 96% percent indicated that their center helped them resolve issues they had with CBP
    • 50+% percent said they benefited from fast shipment delay resolutions, direct contact with CBP, and more clarity on CBP requirements.
  • Many non-CEE participants have used centers to answer questions ranging in subject from C-TPAT procedure to CF-28s and cargo holds and these non-participants seemed to be satisfied with the center’s assistance.
  • CEEs plans to transfer all port-of entry responsibilities to the CEEs, including revenue collection, a gap now that requires participating importers to file their entries with their designated CEE but provide a copy with a check for duties owed to the actual port of entry




Free webinar on combining import operations and compliance

american shipper 2American Shipper has announced a free upcoming webinar entitled “Two Worlds Collide:  The Challenges and Benefits of Blending Import Operations and Compliance,”  a hot topic for US importers.

In the hour-long event, a panel will discuss key issues relating to the inherent friction in the often advantageous decision to combine an importer’s operations and compliance departments, including integration, organizational structure and compliance policies.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, June 13 at 2PM EDT.  Register here.