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