U.S. Customs and Border Protection is looking to expand participation in its ongoing tests of the feasibility and functionality of filing air, rail, and vessel cargo export manifest data electronically through the Automated Commercial Environment. This effort comes as CBP continues to work to reconcile its interest in obtaining advance information for export manifest requirements with the export data requirements in the Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Regulations.
CBP’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee recently recommended that CBP take several steps within the next three months to encourage new or expanded participation in the export manifest tests. These include identifying specific resources (beyond ACE client representatives) that will be dedicated to bringing new participants into the pilots; cataloging, prioritizing, and expeditiously resolving technical issues; and developing and disseminating written policies and procedures so participants will know “what they are signing up for.” COAC also wants CBP to put forward a high-level regulatory “strawman” setting forth its vision of how automation will transform the export manifest regulatory regime for each mode of transportation.
In addition, COAC offered the following recommendations on data submission for the air and ocean export manifest tests.
- enable the earliest possible transmission of ocean house-level bills of lading by non-vessel-operating common carriers and house air waybills by indirect air carriers
- allow export ocean bills of lading to be submitted up to 24 hours prior to vessel loading at the port of exportation
- harmonize the latest possible submission time for house-level air waybills and simple bills with Census requirements for Automated Export System submissions
- facilitate the earliest possible filing of master-level air waybills by IACs and/or air carriers and allow master-level air waybills to be submitted up to aircraft departure from the U.S.
- utilize the flight-level manifest only as a tool for reconciliation and confirmation of the date and port of export and not as an element of export targeting
- allow flight-level manifests to be submitted up to several hours after flight departure and provide an additional three business days during which carriers may amend such transmissions without penalty
- for air export shipments that require AES filings, link the U.S. principal party in interest’s AES filing to the export manifest filing by requiring the USPPI to provide the ITN, AES downtime citation, or AES post-departure citation
- for air and ocean export shipments that are exempted or excluded from AES filing, require the USPPI to provide the three-character alpha-numeric code that corresponds to the correct exemption or exclusion legend
- require NVOCC and IAC house bill filers to include the master bill of lading/air waybill number in every house bill filing
- include the master loader reference number as a new ocean manifest required (conditional) data element
- adopt the new nomenclature of three-character codes for AES exemptions and exclusions that the trade community has agreed on (which would replace FTR paragraph citations), ensure that the ACE export system is expeditiously updated with the new nomenclature, and provide broad notice to pilot participants and the trade community overall about this change
COAC expects to offer at its next meeting in February additional recommendations on the export targeting regime and hold process as well as the regulatory filing and penalty regimes.