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Reminder: Full Enforcement of Importer Security Filing to Begin July 9

Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

After several years of what it calls a “measured and commonsense” approach to enforcing the Importer Security Filing (or 10+2) rule, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin full enforcement of this rule on July 9. As a result, CBP will begin issuing liquidated damages claims of $5,000 against importers and carriers for each inaccurate, incomplete or untimely ISF. If goods for which an ISF has not been filed arrive in the U.S., CBP may withhold the release or transfer of the cargo. For carrier violations of the vessel stow plan requirement, CBP may refuse to grant a permit to unlade the merchandise. Additionally, noncompliant cargo could be subject to further inspection on arrival.

Under the ISF rule, importers and maritime cargo carriers must submit additional cargo data prior to lading goods on board vessels destined to the U.S. customs territory. Importers have to report 10 data elements on each ISF, including information that identifies the manufacturer, supplier, seller, buyer and consignee; the country of origin and tariff classification number; where and by whom the goods were stuffed into the container; and the party responsible for compliance with applicable import requirements. Five data elements are required for shipments consisting entirely of freight remaining on board cargo or goods intended to be transported in-bond as an immediate entry or transportation and exportation entry, including who is paying for the transportation of the goods and where the goods are headed. CBP’s goal is to have all data elements filed 24 hours prior to lading, but it allows for some flexibility either in timing or interpretation for six of the data elements.

Importers are legally responsible for the accuracy and timeliness of their ISF filings, regardless of whether a customs broker or other intermediary does the actual filing. Typically, the ISF importer is the goods’ owner, purchaser, consignee or agent, such as a broker. For foreign cargo remaining on board, the ISF importer is the carrier. For immediate exportation and transportation and exportation in-bond shipments, and goods to be delivered to a foreign-trade zone, the ISF importer is the party filing the IE, T&E or FTZ documentation.

The ISF rule took effect Jan. 26, 2009, but full enforcement was delayed while CBP engaged in an education, outreach and informed compliance effort that lasted nearly three years longer than originally anticipated. CBP officials said when announcing this policy of gradual enforcement that the agency was more focused on aiding compliance than penalizing minor violations. To that end CBP has issued documents such as frequently asked questions and guidelines on ISF penalty mitigation.

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