U.S. Customs and Border Protection has adopted as final, with some changes, a January 2010 proposed rule that will amend its regulations to centralize the processing of continuous bonds at CBP’s Revenue Division in Indianapolis, Ind. CBP states that these amendments, which will take effect Dec. 14, align its regulations with current common practice and improve efficiency by requiring importers to file continuous bonds at the Revenue Division, requiring single transaction bonds to be filed at either the Revenue Division or with the port director, and permitting both continuous bonds and STBs to be scanned and submitted to CBP via email as an attachment or by fax.
Changes Resulting from Comments. According to CBP, this final rule adopts the following changes suggested by commenters in response to the proposed rule.
- permits both single transaction bonds and continuous bonds to be scanned and submitted to CBP as an email attachment or by fax (CBP notes that this final rule, which pertains to all entry types and provides for the filing of both continuous bonds and single transaction bonds primarily on CBP Form 301, is separate and distinct from its eBond test, which pertains to electronic bonds that are not submitted on CBP Form 301 and are transmitted through an electronic data interchange to the Automated Commercial Environment to secure a limited subset of ACE entry types)
- liberalizes the existing procedure by which agents or attorneys acting for a corporate surety may identify themselves to CBP by permitting the submission of a surety-generated nine-digit alphanumeric identification number as a substitute for a social security number
- removes a reference to the port director as being among the CBP personnel authorized to determine whether CBP will accept the bonds of a particular surety
- requires CBP to report a bonded debt to the Department of Justice for prosecution if unpaid for 180 days, not 90 as previously specified
Clarifications and Conforming Amendments. To better explain the bond process and conform its regulations to reflect regulatory amendments that went into effect after the publication of the proposed rule, CBP is making the following changes.
- clarifies in 19 CFR 113.14, which pertains to situations where the approved form of a bond is inadequate, that in situations where CBP determines that none of the conditions contained in subpart G of 19 CFR part 113 are applicable to a transaction sought to be secured, either the director of the Revenue Division or the port director may draft conditions that cover the transaction as CBP deems appropriate and the port director is not limited to drafting conditions only for single transaction bonds in these instances (this reflects that there are certain continuous bonds for which the port director, and not the Revenue Division, will draft bond conditions that are specific to the issues and the geography of the port involved)
- clarifies in 113.15, which prescribes the retention of approved bonds, that except for bonds containing the agreement to pay court costs (condemned goods), and as may otherwise be deemed appropriate by CBP, bonds approved by the port director will be retained at the port office and bonds approved at the Revenue Division (including bonds relating to repayment of erroneous drawback payments containing the conditions set forth in 113.65) will be retained at the Revenue Division
- clarifies the introductory language in 113.39(a) to state that reports to CBP headquarters are to be sent to the attention of the executive director, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade
- clarifies 113.64(b)(1) and (2) to state, in positive terms, that the principal (carrier) must pay processing fees to CBP within the prescribed number of calendar days after the close of the calendar quarter in which they were due
- clarifies 133.25(c) relating to the terms of the IPR sample bond by adding language to eliminate confusion and make clear that this bond is posted to protect the importer or owner of the sample
Proposals Not Adopted. CBP is not adopting many of its proposed regulatory changes, including the following, because they may not be consistent with the deployment of eBond or have otherwise been overtaken by events.
- removal of the 30-day time period from date of notification within which a principal must remedy a bond deficiency (which has now been shortened to 15 days)
- proposed changes relating to information and witnesses required on the bond and seals on the bond
- proposed changes relating to riders, except (a) requirements that riders be (1) filed with the Revenue Division and may be scanned and submitted as an email attachment or by fax and (2) attached to their related bond if submitted in a paper format and (b) that riders may be filed up to 60 days prior to the effective date rather than 30 days
- proposed changes relating to the termination of bonds, except that termination notices must be sent to the Revenue Division
- proposed changes regarding the acceptance of cash deposits or obligations of the United States in lieu of sureties on bonds
- proposed changes to the intellectual property rights sample bond provisions, which are the subject of existing rulemakings that are in formal interdepartmental review