USTR publishes proposed action and China reacts with it’s own list

Achina us trades announced, the U.S. Trade Representative (Trade Representative; USTR) has determined that the acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation covered in the investigation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking public comment and will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed determination on appropriate action in response to these acts, policies, and practices. The Trade Representative proposes an additional duty of 25 percent on a list of products from China. The list of products, defined by 8-digit subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), is set out in the Annex to this Notice.

The official 301FRN notice is:  OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Docket No. USTR-2018-0005 Notice of Determination and Request for Public Comment Concerning Proposed Determination of Action Pursuant to Section 301: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation.  Read the notice here.

Attorneys Susan Kohn Ross and Kevin Rosenbaum from MSK, published a blog article today which gives a complete overview of the situation.  Read here.  As they also say, “Stay tuned for more developments”.

CBP publishes entry summary process for new steel and aluminum requirements

steel htsALERT!  Per CSMS Message 18-000240, issued on March 22nd, the additional duty on imports of steel and aluminum articles under Section 232 are effective with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2018.

This CSMS message provides specific details on the additional requirements and entry filing process, known as a Section 232.  Below is an overview of the process, or click here to read the full CBP message. 

Which countries are included?  All countries are covered by the initial order except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and member countries of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

How to file?  CBP has developed new tariff numbers in chapter 99 which allows for the correct additional duties to be calculated and transmitted on the entry.

  • For steel articles subject to the order, classified in the HTS as: 7206.10 through 7216.50, 7216.99 through 7301.10, 7302.10, 7302.40 through 7302.90, and 7304.10 through 7306.90 importers must also claim HTS number 9903.80.01 (25% ad valorem additional duty for steel mill products).
  •  Aluminum articles subject to the order, are defined in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) as unwrought aluminum (HTS 7601), aluminum bars, rods, and profiles (HTS 7604); aluminum wire (HTS 7605); aluminum plate, sheet, strip, and foil (flat rolled products) (HTS 7606 and 7607); aluminum tubes and pipes and tube and pipe fitting (HTS 7608 and 7609); and aluminum castings and forgings (HTS 7616.99.51.60 and 7616.99.51.70), including any subsequent revisions to these HTS classifications. For products covered by the order importers must also claim HTS number 9903.85.01 (10% ad valorem additional duty for aluminum products).

*The aluminum order does not apply to products made with aluminum or parts of downstream products.

These additional HTS numbers are now effective and available in CNI.  Per CBP, Importers and filers failing to submit the required Chapter 99 HTS classifications with the entry summary information for imports under the specified Chapter 72, 73, and 76 HTS classifications for the covered countries of origin will receive the following reject messages:





For more information, please refer to the Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States, Federal Register, 83 FR 11619 and 83 FR 11625, March 15, 2018; and the March 22, 2018 Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminum into the United States.

New ACE reporting to support reconciliation in ACE

hdr_abi-recon-moduleAs you know, CBP delivered ACE Deployment G, Release 4, on Saturday, February 24th, as promised.  One of the critical pieces of this deployment was moving reconciliation entries into ACE, along with drawback, liquidation and other functionality.  Read our prior blog  on this deployment.

Now, CBP has made long-awaited ACE REPORT ENHANCEMENTS relating to recon.   On March 17th, 2018, CBP has deployed two new universes and nine new standard reports in ACE, to further support the transition of reconciliation into ACE.  These enhancements are meant to provide the trade with all necessary information for reconciliation filing.  Read CSMS #18-000229 – ACE Deployment G Reports Deployment – March 17, 2018 here.

For example, ACE ES-501 is a report showing all open entries flagged for recon.  ES-502 provides bond information.

In fact, on April 14, 2018, the Authorized Data Extracts will be retired, and effective this date, all reports capabilities will reside in ACE Reports.

For more information, please review the ACE Deployment G Reports Information Notice for Trade.

CustomsNow is an ACE-certified software vendor and compliance consulting company, whose clients are brokers, importers, exporters, forwarders, and more.  We have an excellent reconciliation solution, which allows filers to upload underlying entry data from any/all various original filers to a single recon.  Contact us to learn more.

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Process

steelMarch 18, 2018 U.S. Department of Commerce Announcement

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its procedures for excluding products from the recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum product imports. As directed by President Trump, the Department will publish the procedures in the Federal Register and will start accepting exclusion requests from U.S. industry on Monday, March 19, 2018, at 8:45 AM.

Click HERE to see the Federal Register notice.

“These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries,” said Secretary Ross. “Starting tomorrow, domestic industry will be able to apply for exclusions through a fair and transparent process run through Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.”

Secretary Ross, in consultation with other Administration officials, will evaluate exclusion requests, taking into account national security considerations. In that evaluation, the Secretary will consider whether a product is produced in the United States of a satisfactory quality or in a sufficient and reasonably available amount. A single response to each exclusion request will be posted on

Only individuals or organizations using steel or aluminum articles identified in Presidential Proclamations 9704 and 9705 and engaged in business activities in the United States may submit exclusion requests. Exclusion requests will be posted for a 30-day comment period on

Separate exclusion requests must be submitted for each unique steel or aluminum product import. For an exclusion request to be considered, the requester must provide a full factual description of the specific product, its properties, and its quantity.

Any individual or organization in the United States may file objections to steel or aluminum exclusion requests, but the Commerce Department will only consider information directly related to the submitted exclusion request that is the subject of the objection. Organizations submitting an objection filing on an exclusion request should provide specific information on the product that their company can provide that is comparable to the steel or aluminum product that is the subject of the exclusion request.

Organizations filing an objection should also provide factual information on the production capabilities at steel or aluminum manufacturing facilities that they operate in the United States; the availability and delivery time of the products that they manufacture relative to the specific steel or aluminum product that is subject to an exclusion request; and discussion on the suitability of its product for the application or applications identified by the exclusion requestor.

Both the exclusion requests and objection filings will be available for public viewing on Processing of exclusion requests normally will not exceed 90 days, including adjudication of objections submitted on exclusion requests.

The forms for submitting steel and aluminum exclusion requests, and objections to specific exclusion requests, will be available on on March 19, 2018, at 8:45 AM. The steel docket number is BIS-2018-0006 and the aluminum docket number is BIS-2018-0002.

Copies of the forms and additional information on the exclusion process will be available at and on March 19, 2018, at 8:45 AM.

For questions concerning the exclusion process, contact or 202-482-5642 for steel-related queries and or 202-482-4757 for aluminum-related queries.

*NOTE:  Click HERE to read CBP’s CSMS #18-000219 – Harmonized System Update 1803 created on March 13, 2018, which included the modifications made as a result of the two Presidential Proclamations enacting Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

CBP announces long-awaited e-commerce strategy

Final E-Commerce Strategic Plan_Page_01_0

On March 6th, 2018, CBP issued their long-awaited E-Commerce Strategy, as announced here.

For several years, CBP has seen a tremendous increase in e-commerce shipments, which CBP defines as high-volume, low-value shipments purchased via electronic means.  These shipments generally enter the U.S. as small package (mail/courier) shipments, and many of these imports fall under the de minimus value amount of $800, where no form of entry is required, known as a Section 321 declaration.  It’s interesting to note that most other nations are reducing the value allowed for these type of “non-entry” shipments, rather than increasing it (read more about the de minimus value increase in 2016 here).

With this growth in e-commerce related volume, CBP says, there is also an increased opportunity for illicit and dangerous products to cross our borders, placing Americans’ health and safety at risk and creating new risks that can compromise U.S. intellectual property rights.  CBP has recently conducted tests where they inspected a large percentage of small packages for a given period and port.  Through these tests, many infractions were discovered, including trademark violations, illicit drugs, and more, further prompting CBP to develop a strategy.

CBP’s resources have traditionally been dedicated to targeting ocean, truck, and air shipments for infractions, and so, did not build sophisticated process around small packages. Now, with this new strategy, CBP will be enhancing their legal authority to address small packages, develop risk-based ways of identifying potential illegal shipments, drive importer compliance, and assist in developing international standards for small packages.

The overall Goals and Objectives of the strategy are:

  • Enhance legal and regulatory authorities to better posture CBP and interagency partners to address emerging threats.
  • Enhance and adapt all affected CBP operations to respond to emerging supply chain dynamics created by the rapid growth of e-commerce.
  • Drive private sector compliance through enforcement resources and incentives.
  • Facilitate international trade standards for e-commerce to support economic prosperity.

Read the complete E-Commerce Strategy plan here.

We, at CustomsNow, are looking forward to the day when importers of small packages or their brokers can electronically file their Section 321 entries through ABI / ACE.  Providing this information to the authorities, in an electronic format, is key to developing and enforcing a risk-based strategy.

National Commodity Specialist Division Webinar Training Schedule Announced



In a surprise move (at least it was a surprise to us!), as broadcasted today through CSMS #18-000212,  CBP announced that their National Import Specialists will be presenting several webinars to educate the Trade on how to classify certain commodities.

The webinars, over 40 in all, will begin in April 2018 and End in July, 2018.  The complete list of scheduled seminars & dates are found here.  

Interested in attending?  Here’s how…

Click on the following link and sign in with your company and/or name.

CustomsNow strongly encourages importers to review the list of webinars and to attend any that are relevant to your business. It is not known, at this time, whether or not the Trade will have the opportunity to ask questions during the training.

CBP hosts daily ACE support calls for Feb. 24th release – all welcome


Following ACE Deployment G, Release 4 this past weekend, CBP will host a daily support call starting today and ending March 2. The calls will take place between 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET. To dial in for these calls, please use the following conference line:

Number: (877) 336-1828 / Access Code: 6124214

Additionally, CBP will host a separate daily support call focused on Drawback issues also starting today and running through March 2. These calls will take place from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET. To dial in for these calls, please use the following conference line:

Number: (877) 336-1829 / Access Code: 4840827

Overview on the current status of the Feb. 24th ACE release

CBP-logo-1Following is an overview on the current stats of CBP’s latest ACE release, as summarized by our friends at NCBFAA …

CBP Update on February 24 ACE Deployment

Following the most recent ACE Deployment this past weekend, CBP is hosting daily support calls this week for the trade to report any problems or issues that are occurring due to the update. During the February 26 call, CBP noted that of the 41 claims submitted, only 6 have been accepted error free so far. For the other claims, filers are still working with CBP support staff to work through errors leading to rejections.

In a CSMS sent earlier today, CBP compiled a list of the most common issues users are currently experiencing. The list is as follows:

  • Errors when reporting values, including zeros, in the Entry Summary (AE) 90 Record field “Grand Total Other Revenue Amount”
  • Drawback – EGVUs are being rejecting incorrectly
  • Drawback – Rejecting when Claimant ID account status is frozen
  • Drawback – Privilege status rejections

Regarding “privilege status rejections,” if an issue over privilege status leads to an inappropriate rejection, you should contact the Drawback Specialist to manually correct the privilege status in ACE and add the privilege(s) back to the claim(s). Once added, the privilege status will be fixed for subsequent claims for that claimant.

CBP has notified the trade that they will provide additional information regarding these issues as they become available. The NCBFAA will continue to closely monitor the situation and update our members as these, and potentially other, issues get resolved.

Reconciliation… Welcome to ACE!

ace-logoOn Saturday, February 24th, as promised, CBP delivered ACE Deployment G, Release 4.  One of the critical pieces of this deployment was moving reconciliation entries into ACE, along with drawback, liquidation and other functionality.

If you file recon, here are the things you need to know…

  • FLAGGING:  CBP blanket flagging for recon is GONE.  Importers must work with their brokers, or self-filing software to ensure that entries which require reconciliation get the necessary flags at the time of initial entry.  Brokers/software systems should be able to set profiles to either blanket flag by IOR, at the Part/SKU, other even based on other criteria such as MID code.
  • PARTICIPATION APPROVAL:  CBP no longer requires IORs to gain pre-appoval  to participate in reconciliation.  All profiles are set in ACE to accept a flagged entry, and will not receive a reject.
  •  PROCESSING PORTS:  IORs are no longer assigned to a recon filing processing port.  Rather, if the are assigned to a CEE, then they should file there, if not, then continue to file at their assigned port.  New recon filers will be provided with instructions.
  • PAPPERLESS:  No more paper or disc submissions required.  The date the of the entry summary once an “accepted error free” message has been received on the ABI transmission, is the date of submission.
  • ACE REPORTS:  The much anticipated new Reconciliation universe and a new Liquidation universe reports are scheduled for deployment on March 17, 2018. Additional information will be provided on these report capabilities at a later date.

Long awaited improvements…. Happy Recon Filing!

Read more about CBP’s G4 ACE Deployment here.  Read more about Recon here.

Join WITOC for it’s annual State of International Trade & Customs Outlook


Join us; we have a great lineup!  February 1st, 2018 @ 9am


Please join Women in International Trade, Orange County (WITOC) for it’s annual State of International Trade & Customs Outlook for importers, exporters and other trade stakeholders.  REGISTER HERE.

Hear from high-level government officials, representing USCBP, USCPSC, DHS/HSI, USDA, and FDA, giving us a recap of 2017 top headlines on trade facilitation and enforcement, and a look ahead on regulatory trends and initiatives that will shape the landscape of global commerce in 2018. Other industry experts will share their insights into hot topics setting the stage for another year of trade transformation in a world of bridging relations with government agencies and trade stakeholders. With a wide range of speakers from relevant backgrounds, you will not want to miss this opportunity to interact and connect with government and industry members.

 Discussion Topics to Include: 

  • Year-end Review and 2018 Forecast from Respective Government Agencies
  • Leadership Changes and New Appointments at Local and National Ports of Entry
  • Import/Export Trade Challenges, Priority Enforcement Issues and Trends to Watch for 2018
  • Update on USCBP Centers of Excellence, Forced Labor Reviews
  • TFTEA Mandates for USCBP and Other Respective Government Agencies
  • How COAC is Shaping the Future for Trade Stakeholders

Program Moderator:  Anne Hilsabeck, President and Founder, AMH Customs Consultants, Newport Beach

Government Speakers: 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP)

  • Elva Muneton, Assistant Director, Trade, Los Angeles Field Office
  • Bernice Conley, Assistant Port Director – Trade, Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport

U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (USCPSC), Hank Tapy, Director Western Region, Import Surveillance

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Dawn Barriteau, Deputy Special Agent in Charge – Los Angeles

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Daniel Solis, Acting Program Division Director – Division of West Coast Imports Office of Enforcement and Import Operations

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Nicholas Porzio, Supervisor, Smuggling Interdiction,Trade Compliance Office, Los Angeles & Central California

Private Sector Speakers: 

  • Vincent Iacopella, Executive Vice President, Alba Wheels Up Int’l Inc., Inglewood
  • Representing the Commercial Customs Operations
  • Advisory Committee (COAC)

Venue:  Avenue of the Arts Hotel, 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA 92626