Get the latest scoop on CBP’s Simplified Processes Initiative

On March 24, the NCBFAA sponsored a webinar on the Simplified Processes Initiative, presented by Randy Mitchell, Director, Commercial Operations and Entry Division, US Customs Office of Trade Policy & Programs.  Here’s a summary:

In 2011, CBP launched the Simplified Processes Initiative, a collaborative effort to develop innovative solutions to critical issues emerging at the intersection of trade facilitation, enforcement, and national security.  An early success was the implementation of the Simplified Entry (Cargo Release) pilot aimed at simplifying the importation process.

CBP reengaged the Simplified Processes Initiative in 2014 to advance border security and management; enhance U.S. competitiveness by enabling lawful trade and travel; and promote organizational innovation.

A Simplified Processes Working Group was established to identify challenges and discuss potential solutions to critical trade needs; gather requirements; and develop a proposed alternative. To date the group has identified five post-release areas of opportunity:

Monthly Summaries and National Statements

  • Filers may submit a monthly summary that includes releases over a calendar months’ time.
  • Each line of a monthly summary is considered a “reconfigured entry” that is subject to liquidation, protest and any other downstream process.
  • A separate National Financial Monthly Statement will include debits (duties, taxes, fees, bills and interest) and credits (refunds) netted as a total balance due for a calendar month.

If an importer elected to participate they would receive only one statement per month covering all ports of entry and there would be no Daily Statements to approve.  Also, the statements could include both Debits and Credits.


  • Allow for deemed liquidation of all consumption entries at one (1) year from the date of entry.
  • Implement processes to accommodate line-level liquidation.
  • Allow for the importer to obtain liquidation status details from their ACE portal account or

This will allow lines within an entry to liquidate without having to wait for lines subjected to AD/CVD case reviews to be resolved.  Also, it would benefit Drawback filings since they are also filed at the line-level.


  • Transition the protest process to an electronic format (this has already occurred and all Protests must now be filed in the ACE Portal.)
  • Expand the electronic protest filing to a broader range of trade stakeholders such as attorneys, importers, and sureties.
  • Auto-populate numerous Entry Summaries onto one protest while providing protest statuses on ACE.


  • File all reconciliation data electronically and only with necessary data elements.
  • Eliminate the requirement of having to file an 09 entry and extend liquidation for flagged entries/lines an extra year from the date of entry.
  • Manage reconciliation by account and permit filing at any Center or POE.

The vision is that Reconciliation entries will be replaced with Post Summary Corrections.  One of the biggest benefits would be that the Trade would only need to provide the reconciled amounts and not the original amounts since ACE already knows the original amounts.  Also, if no PSC is made, it indicates no changes are needed on the reconciled entry and is then subjected to liquidation. Finally, the process would allow a filer to retroactively flag/un-flag an entry/line through a PCS in ACE up to the deemed liquidation date.


  • Develop a process for the claimant to submit a “drawback profile” electronically along with automating other Drawback processes in ACE.
  • Track/validate if the bond coverage is sufficient prior to processing an Accelerated Payment requests.
  • Initiate the Desk Review and response processes electronically, to include DIS.

ACE controls will track and validate if the bond coverage is sufficient prior to processing an Accelerated Payment Request.  Drawback profiles will be submitted electronically using the 5106 form.

These process improvements are continuing to be reviewed and approved as necessary and are subject to budget approval.  Therefore, there is no firm date on when they will be rolled out.   Meanwhile, here’s the PowerPoint presentation from the webinar > Simplified Process Initiative_Webinar_March_2017

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Get immediate proof of CBP & PGA release for imports with CustomsNow’s Cargo Query System

Introducing CustomsNow’s Cargo Query System (CQS)….

With the February 28 deadline to file import entries in ACE looming, rest assured that with CQS, you can get immediate electronic proof of CBP and PGA releases for imports.  Perfect for importers… and if you are a container freight station (CFS), bonded warehouse, terminal facility, or freight forwarder, you NEED this. Per US Customs’ mandate, all non-automated parties MUST get automated to obtain electronic proof of CBP and PGA release.   CQS also provides ability to create, update and arrive in-bonds, initiate PTTs, or just the ability to see their status.

Check it out here!  And contact us now to schedule a demo!




CBP addresses uncertainty about Form 3461



Were you confused about the existence of two versions of US Customs Form 3461 on the CBP website?  Here’s the lowdown:

  • In CSMS #15-000946, CBP added a new version of 3461 for non-ABI (full paper) entries to be processed in ACE since these types of entries required completion of fields different from that of the the traditional 3461.
  • Now, however, pursuant to CSMS #16-000001, Customs has removed the ACE version of the form from for additional modification. CBP will publish a future CSMS when the revised form is re-posted. Filers should continue to use the existing 3461 for their non-ABI filings.

Check this blog for further updates.


ACE: Help CBP and file entries in the PGA Pilot

seal_aceAs many in the trade know, one of the most daunting tasks faced by US Customs in migrating to ACE is the deployment of functionality for cargo release which is conditioned on the approval of Partner Government Agencies.  This involves the incorporation of 47 PGAs involved in the trade process and nearly 200 forms required for imports and exports. To help create a Single Window — a one-stop shop for clearance of imports requiring one or more PGA approvals — CBP is enlisting the assistance of the trade in its PGA Pilot per CSMS #15-000886:

  • What is the PGA Pilot? The PGA Pilot is an opportunity for the trade community to work closely with CBP and the PGAs as we begin a filer’s transition to ACE for use of the PGA message set. CBP will assist in connecting the trade with the appropriate contacts at the various PGAs and providing guidance as necessary. CBP and PGA technical teams will hold a conference call with the filer (and software vendor if applicable) to monitor the filer’s first ACE Cargo Release transactions with PGA message set data into ACE.
  • There are no restrictions to participate in the PGA Pilot, unless specifically noted. A filer will pick one or a few entries for pilot filing and, after piloting successfully, the PGA will advise if and when the filer can start to transmit those entries unassisted. Once approved, a filer can transmit one or all entries into ACE during the pilot period for that PGA program. All filers are eligible to participate in the pilot unless otherwise noted.

Additional information on the PGA Pilot can be found here.

New! ONE USG message in ACE includes notice of both CBP and PGA entry releases


On October 31, in support of the ACE Single Window Initiative, US Customs deployed functionality for the new “ONE USG” entry status notification. This alert indicates that an entry has been released by CBP and any applicable Partner Government Agencies (“PGA”).

For filers (brokers or direct filing importers), receipt of the ONE USG message will be the first time that a single source will identify whether a shipment has cleared CBP and all other PGAs.  The ONE USG message is an entry level status message, replacing the “paperless” message but also covering the PGA release confirmation.  Therefore, importers will now know, definitively, that their products can be shipped out to their respective customers or used in their manufacturing processes.

On the other hand, carriers will still rely on the 1C message to confirm release the goods.  The 1C is posted as soon as the ONE USG message is received by the filer.  Other bonded facilities (e.g. warehouses) now also have the ability to view the 1C message with an ACE Cargo Query, using an ACE-certified ABI software solution such as CustomsNow™ CQS.  This process will replace the paper 3461, which is now obsolete.

It’s important to note that a 1C disposition code will also be posted once CBP has releases a shipment, even if the PGA has ordered that the shipment be held intact (“Hold Intact”) pending further review.   The PGA will instruct the filer of such a hold, via an entry level messages, to “Hold Intact” the cargo at their chosen facility while they conduct a review.

The below illustrates when a release will, or will not, be posted to an import shipment (click to enlarge): entry hold types

ACE: Help CBP with cargo release functionality for NHTSA, DEA imports

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US Customs has announced two more opportunities for the trade to assist with the ACE rollout as it relates to Partner Government Agencies (PGAs).

  • CBP seeks additional participants to file ACE Cargo Release transactions that require National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data to be submitted.  Details available in CSMS #15-000691.
  • The International Trade Data System (ITDS) Committee of the Trade Support Network (TSN) is creating a working group to discuss the technical solution and data elements to be required by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in new cargo release and control functionality in ACE.  Details available in CSMS #15-000692.


Critical ACE deadline pushed back



As anticipated, US Customs has extended by four months the time by which importers must file all electronic entries and entry summaries in ACE.  Note, however, that CBP has emphasized that the originally published deadline for the complete cut-over to ACE from ACS  is holding fast:  “We would like to reiterate that the [extended] transition period does not impact our December 2016 deadline for full implementation of the Single Window via ACE.”

From CSMS #15-000664:

Nov 1, 2015: Beginning of a transition period for electronic entry and entry summary filings in ACE to allow industry and participating government agencies more time to test and provide feedback as they fully transition into the new system. Use of ACE is allowed and encouraged for electronic entry and corresponding entry summary filings for entry types 01, 03, 11, 51, and 52 with or without PGA data.

Feb 28, 2016: At this time, filers will only be permitted to file in ACE, and no longer permitted to file in ACS, all electronic entries and entry summaries. In addition, electronic FDA, NHTSA, and APHIS (Lacey) data must be filed in ACE, and ACS will no longer be available.

July 2016: Upon publication of the Final Rule, ACE must be used for filing AMS, APHIS Core, ATF, CDC, DCMA, DDTC, DEA E&C, EPA, FSIS, FWS*, NMFS and TTB data. Hybrid submissions will no longer be allowed.* This requirement for FWS is contingent on FWS having its regulatory revisions in place by the July 2016 publication of the CBP Final Rule eliminating hybrid filings.

ACE: TSN seeks members for working group on CPSC cargo release pilot


The International Trade Data System (ITDS)  Committee of the Trade Support Network (TSN), an advisory board of trade representatives that provides guidance to US Customs on ACE issues, is seeking members of the trade to form a working group to discuss a technical solution to be used by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in the pilot to test the new cargo release and control functionality of ACE/ITDS.

You must apply by this Friday, September 4.  See CSMS #15-000642 for details.

ACE: TSN seeks committee members to address upcoming post-release functionality

seal_aceThe Entry Committee of the Trade Support Network (TSN), an advisory board of trade representatives that provides guidance to US Customs on ACE issues, is seeking members of the trade for help in working through matters on forthcoming ACE functionality.  Specifically, the organization:

“…would like to establish Trade Working Groups to discuss upcoming requirements and capabilities for Post Release functionality development that began in Increment 10 and will extend to future Increments.  Specifically, we are looking for trade volunteers to participate in the following three working groups:

    • Drawback
    • Reconciliation
    • Liquidation/Protest

In order to make these discussions manageable and productive, we would like no more than 10 trade members per working group (members can sign up for multiple working groups).

Once the working group members have been identified, we are targeting scheduling several on site sessions [in Washington, DC], beginning the week of August 17th or August 24th.  Your input on which week is preferable would be appreciated. Each group will have one full day to meet with the ESAR Team (either Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday).  Once we hold our first meeting, we will determine whether additional on-site meetings or teleconferences will be required.”

If you’re qualified and interested, please contact Amy Magnus [] and Lee Sandler [] with Working Group preference and availability for meetings week/day of August 17th and week/day of August 24th.

The TSN provides a forum for the discussion of significant modernization and automation efforts with the trade community. There are approximately 300 members of the TSN that represent the entire breadth of the trade community, including trade associations, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, sureties and others.


Update on Port of LA’s paper workaround for paperless ACE air manifest cargo releases

seal_aceRecently, we discussed glitches in ACE that prevented carriers from seeing release messages for air cargo, even though the filers receive paperless releases in ACE.  To address the issue, the Port of Los Angeles announced a paper-based workaround, which was extended through July 31, 2015.

While the overall air manifest environment is improving in performance, technical issues remain.  Therefore, the Port of LA has extended the paper workaround until further notice, and has provided additional guidance for the trade.

For details, see Acting LAX Port Director Donald R. Kusser’s memo:   Notice to the Trade – July 29, 2015 Update