U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that no earlier than Sept. 28 it will begin a test to allow Section 321 low-valued shipments, including those subject to partner government agency data requirements, to be entered via a new informal entry type 86 in the Automated Commercial Environment. This test is separate from one slated to begin Aug. 22 under which additional data elements for Section 321 goods will be transmitted in advance of their arrival.

For more information about Section 321 requirements and the specifics of this test, please contact customs attorney Lenny Feldman at (305) 894-1011.

Section 321 of the Tariff Act of 1930 provides for an administrative exemption from duty and taxes for shipments of goods (other than bona-fide gifts and certain personal and household goods) imported by one person on one day having an aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of not more than $800. Section 321 shipments may generally be entered by presenting the bill of lading or a manifest listing each bill of lading (the release from manifest process), but if they are subject to PGA reporting requirements (many of which do not have de minimis exceptions) or PGA duties, taxes, or fees they are not eligible for this process and must instead be entered using the more complex informal entry type 11 or formal entry.

CBP states that the ACE entry type 86 test will provide a less-complex entry and release process for these shipments and expedite the clearance of compliant shipments through the use of ACE. Key aspects of this test include the following.

- The test is open to all owners, purchasers, consignees, and designated customs brokers of Section 321 shipments, including those subject to PGA requirements, imported by all modes of cargo transportation.

- Section 321 shipments may be entered by the owner, purchaser, or consignee, or an appropriately designated licensed customs broker, but consignees intending to file an entry type 86 must appoint a broker to act as the importer of record for the shipment.

- The owner, purchaser, or broker must file the following data elements with CBP at any time prior to or upon arrival of the cargo or up to 15 days thereafter: bill of lading or air waybill number; entry number; planned port of entry; shipper name, address, and country; consignee name and address; country of origin; quantity; fair retail value in the country of shipment; 10-digit HTSUS number; and IOR number of the owner, purchaser, or broker when designated by a consignee (when the shipment is subject to PGA data reporting requirements).

- The filing of entry type 86 is considered customs business under 19 USC 1641.

- A bond and entry summary documentation are not required when filing entry type 86 and the importing party is exempt from payment of the harbor maintenance tax and merchandise processing fee for Section 321 goods.

- Any goods not exempt from the payment of any applicable PGA duties, fees, or taxes do not qualify as a Section 321 shipment and an entry type 86 filing determined to owe any such amounts will be rejected by CBP and must be refiled using the appropriate informal or formal entry process.

- Goods imported by mail are excluded from the test and may not be entered under entry type 86.

- CBP may require formal entry for any goods if it is deemed necessary for import admissibility enforcement purposes, revenue protection, or the efficient conduct of customs business.

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