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ACE Test for Imports of FWS-Regulated Goods Reopened

Friday, March 06, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reopening and modifying the National Customs Automation Program test pertaining to the submission of certain import data and documents for commodities regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Automated Commercial Environment. The test will be operational as of April 6 and will remain in place until concluded by way of announcement in the Federal Register.

CBP first announced this test in May 2016, stating that participants would electronically submit (a) data contained in FWS form 3-177 (Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish and Wildlife) using the partner government agency message set and (b) any required original permits or certificates, as well as copies of any other documents required under the FWS regulations, via the Document Image System. However, the test was suspended in January 2017 due to industry concerns regarding the design of the message set.

CBP subsequently reopened and modified the test in May 2018 but said that it would suspend it 90 days thereafter in order to review the results before extending it. Following its review, CBP determined that additional technical programming needed to be completed by FWS, additional modifications to the programming instructions in the CBP Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements for the applicable PGA message set would be required, and greater and more diverse trade participation would be needed to ensure success. Following the suspension of the modified test, CBP worked closely with FWS and members of the trade to improve the design of the test.

The newly reopened and modified test includes two further modifications to streamline the PGA message set for FWS by limiting information provided to only data that is currently provided in FWS’s eDecs system. To implement the changes, CBP has modified the programming in ACE to remove several record identifiers and other data elements. In addition, other technical programming changes have created efficiencies, i.e., all FWS-staffed designated ports are now consolidated under the subheading “Wildlife Ports” in the CATAIR guidelines for FWS to align with the requirements in 50 CFR Part 14.12 of the FWS regulations.

Finally, CBP has made other minor modifications for the administration of the test, specifically updating the contact information for both comments and questions to CBP and FWS, as well as for participation in and discontinuation of the test.

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