Acting CBP Commissioner resigns

Today, American Shipper published in their Daily Digital Magazine, the news that acting CBP Commissioner, John Sanders, is resigning effective July 5th, 2019.

Acting Commissioner Sanders was in his role for 2 1/2 months. According to various news reports, President Donald Trump is expected to name Mark Morgan, a former FBI analyst who currently serves as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as the new acting CBP commissioner.

How are companies are softening the Trump tariff blows?

Facing the onslaught of President Trump’s China Tariffs, importers are having to get creative in order to minimize the impact these higher duty rates will have on their goods. 

Foreign Trade Zone / Bonded Warehouse / Tariff Engineering

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ), approved by the U.S. government, can be a temporary haven for companies reducing duties on a case-by-case basis.  Trade zones are not a loophole for goods destined for the U.S. market, but they can be a way for companies to avoid duties on goods shipped to the United States and subsequently re-exported to another country.

There are different types of zone designations depending on the end use of the goods; further manufacturing, packaging, comingling, etc.  In any case, the duties are not paid out until the goods are exported out of the Trade Zone, either in-bond for re-export or destined for the U.S. market.  Companies can utilize the zones to spread out those duty payments based upon the timing of the export from the zones.  This can help manage huge import duty payments being paid at time of import to the U.S. 

Bonded warehouses are another option. Firms can store and make products in “Customs-bonded” warehouses for up to five years. Duties are only applied once products leave the facility for consumption. Companies can apply to U.S. Customs for a license to operate a bonded warehouse.

According to a paper by law firm Barnes, Richards & Colburn, Tariff engineering also is making a comeback.  Companies can tweak their design processes in order to be able the re-classify their goods under a lower duty rate.  However, importers need to be very conscious of taking this too far, since Customs tends to reject revisions to existing HTS codes when companies appear to be making a “fictional or temporary product”. 

To view the full article in Transport Topics (TTNews) “In Times of Trade War, Companies Get Creative to Avoid Tariffs”.

Changes to interest rate calculations for reconciliation

Changes published today in CBP Admin Message CSMS# 19-000310 Interest Rates for Reconciliation

Effective July 2019, CBP will no longer publish on CBP.gov the quarterly interest rates for Reconciliation. Filers can find the quarterly rates on the www.irs.gov website by querying “quarterly interest rates for (YYYY)” in the search engine located on the upper right hand corner of the webpage.

The Reconciliation section of the ACE Business Rules will be updated with the above website for identifying the quarterly rates.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please email OT-RECONFOLDER@CBP.DHS.GOV, Commercial Operations, Revenue and Entry Division, Office of Trade.

To which CEE do you belong?

U.S. Customs Centers of Excellence and Expertise, aka “CEEs” are Customs way to better align with modern business practices. Whether or not you are currently engaged with your CEE, Importers are already assigned to one.

Ever wonder how to find out which CEE team has been assigned to your company? 

Well, it’s not as difficult as you may have thought… In order to get the details, you just need to do a simple bond query with your company’s Federal Identification number, either though your surety, Customs broker, or in ABI/ACE directly . The query results will show you who your CEE team is.  Below is an example of how it looks in the ABI response.

It’s as simple as that! Contact CustomsNow if you have any questions.

CBP Trade Symposium announced – July 23rd-24th

CBP TRADE SYMPOSIUM IN CHICAGO – CBP sent out a formal notice that the Trade Symposium will be held in Chicago this year. The registration will open on Thursday, June 13th, at noon EST. Learn more here.

This is always a great event to get up-to-date information on current trade activities. The event sells out quickly so be sure to register early!

“The New NAFTA” – informative article from SupplyChainBrain

nafta-main

Need a good introduction to “New NAFTA”?  An article written today by Robert J. Bowman, SupplyChainBrain, called “The New NAFTA: What Does It Mean For Supply Chains?”is a great place to start.

This Q&A covers topics associated with the new agreement and the potential impact to U.S. supply chains.

Specifics about the new deal, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, have been published on the Office of The United States Trade Representative website, found here.

CSMS# 18-000689 RECONCILIATION FILING-FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTA)

ace-logoACE FILING NOTICE – RECON

According to to CBP CSMS# 18-000689, issued today, November 21, when filing a reconciliation for a Free Trade Agreement issue, ACE is displaying incorrect original paid amounts. Until headquarters issues further guidance, filers should submit the reconciliation header information in the Document Imaging System (DIS) when filing the reconciliation with a FTA issue.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please send an email to
OT-RECONFOLDER@CBP.DHS.GOV, Commercial Operations, Revenue and Entry Division, Office of Trade.

Changes (again) to CBP user fees, effective October 1, 2018

As just announced in CBP’s CSMS #18-000465, dated August 1, 2018, various changes to user fees will take effect on October 1, 2018.

The Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) ad valorem rate of 0.3464% will NOT change.  However, note the following changes:

  • The MPF minimum and maximum for formal entries (class code 499) will change – the minimum will change from $25.67 to $26.22 and the maximum will change from $497.99 to $508.70.
  • The Informal MPF (class code 311) will change to $2.10.
  • The dutiable mail fee (class code 496) will change to $5.77.
  • The surcharge for manual entry or release will change to $3.15.

The Federal Register Notice (83 FRN 37509) can be read here.  Another CSMS will be sent when the changes are in the ACE Certification environment for trade testing.

U.S. imposes 25% tariffs on approximately $50B of Chinese goods

china us trade

On Friday June 15th, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. will follow through with 25 percent tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of goods from China in 2018 import value (read announcement here).

The list of goods covered by the order includes mainly industrially significant technology products spread across 1,102 U.S. tariff lines.  The list of specific tariff numbers can be found here and, as announced, CBP will begin collecting these additional duties beginning July 6th.

Additionally, there is a second set of HTS numbers which have been identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee as benefiting from Chinese industrial policies.  These include the “Made in China 2025” industrial policy, and the set covers about $16 billion worth of imports from China. The second set of products will undergo a public notice and comment process, including a public hearing, after which USTR will issue a final determination on the products from the list that would be subject to the duties, the agency said.  Crowell Morning Trade Law wrote a good overview on this, here.

The USTR will “soon provide an opportunity” for the public to request exclusion of “particular products” from the duties to be imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, and will issue a notice in the Federal Register with details on this process within the next few weeks, USTR said.

Changes to China’s manifest system – what you need to know!

chinaChina’s 24 hours Advanced Manifest Regulation Update

Have you been asked by your Chinese partners for additional company information for new shipment into and out of China?  It is our initial understanding that for US entities the information requested is the consignee or notify party’s company Employee Identification Number (EIN).   The carrier OOCL provides a good overview to their customers on  their website, here.

Our friends at NCBFAA are also working diligently on providing guidance on the new requirements for shipments to and from China. The regulations are confusing and in some cases contradictory. We will follow up with addition information as it becomes available.

The GACC published the original requirements in 2008 in Decree No. 172. These specific requirements were not implemented in 2008. Customs announced in Notice No. 56 that implement would begin June 1, 2018. (See links to the notices below).

Below are some additional links to the GACC notices: