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New ACE Functionalities Slated for Deployment This Fall

Monday, July 15, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection states in its most recently monthly update on the development of the Automated Commercial Environment that progress on several ACE initiatives is expected within the next few months. CBP is also now proposing Dec. 31, 2016, as the deadline for mandatory use of all ACE features.

Earlier this year CBP tested the use of an Agile software development methodology to develop the remaining pieces of ACE functionality. Under this methodology, features are developed and delivered iteratively and incrementally as teams work concurrently to develop and deliver smaller releases of features more rapidly. In light of the success of that test, CBP has refined its three-year plan for completing the development and deployment of the remaining ACE features. As part of this plan, CBP is proposing to require the use of cargo release and manifest in ACE as of Dec. 31, 2015, and to require the use of all remaining ACE features as of Dec. 31, 2016.

To reach this goal, CBP anticipates increasing the number of Agile development teams to between 9 and 12 by early 2014. There are currently four teams in place working on the following issues.

Cargo release/entry corrections and cancellations – CBP is developing the capability to accept or deny corrections and cancellations to a simplified entry sent via electronic data interchange. The receipt, review and processing of entry correction/cancellation requests was successfully automated in May and CBP is now building on these capabilities to include requests for split shipments and enhancements to the simplified entry process. CBP plans to deploy these functionalities in October.

PGA message set – Efforts continue to formulate a harmonized set of data that will be collected electronically by CBP and dispersed to appropriate participating government agencies. In May, CBP completed the first development increment, which integrates the PGA message set with entry summary and focused on providing ozone-depleting substances and vehicle and engine data to the Environmental Protection Agency and meat, poultry and egg data to the Food Safety Inspection Service. The next increment will focus on further enhancements in these areas in preparation for an October pilot test.

Entry summary validations – In May, CBP completed development work that laid the foundation for the ability to process system validations, or edits, on the quality and accuracy of incoming entry summary data. Work began with Harbor Maintenance Tax validations, and the second increment is focused on classification. CBP plans to deploy both increments in October.

Re-engineering AES – CBP’s goal is to create a single automated export processing platform for export manifest, commodity, and export control and licensing transactions. The initial deployment, scheduled for early 2014, will include (a) the following enhancements for Census Bureau regulatory changes: post-departure filing times changed from ten to five calendar days from the date of exportation, added ultimate consignee type and license value, and foreign-trade zone identifier increased from five to seven alphanumeric characters; (b) an Advanced Export Information pilot for filing a limited data set pre-departure and remaining data elements five days post-departure, which CBP states is a revised Option 3 process; and (c) Bureau of Industry and Security changes in licensing requirements in support of the Export Control Reform Initiative. Following this initial phase, development will continue into 2014 with the building of electronic export manifest functionality.

CBP notes that while it is currently using carry-over dollars for development work on most of these initiatives, based on the funding strategy it has developed with the Department of Homeland Security and planned congressional appropriations it believes there will be sufficient funding to complete core trade functionality in ACE by the end of 2016.

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