U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Treasury Department have issued a final rule amending, effective Jan. 26, the CBP regulations regarding the requirement to file a Toxic Substances Control Act certification when importing into the customs territory of the U.S. chemicals in bulk form or as part of mixtures and articles containing a chemical or mixture. The rule amends the regulations to establish an electronic option for importers to file the required Environmental Protection Agency TSCA certifications, consistent with the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006. The regulations have also been amended to clarify and add certain definitions and eliminate the paper-based blanket certification process.  

When a TSCA chemical substance is imported in bulk form or as part of a mixture or a non-TSCA chemical is imported, an importer or its customs broker must submit a signed certification stating that either (1) all chemical substances in the shipment comply with all applicable rules or orders under TSCA and the importer is not offering a chemical substance for entry in violation of TSCA or any rule or order thereunder (a positive certification), or (2) all chemicals in the shipment are not subject to TSCA (a negative certification).

Currently, the TSCA certification must be filed with the director of the port of entry before release of the shipment. The certification may appear as a typed or stamped statement either (1) on the entry document or commercial invoice or on a preprinted attachment thereto, or (2) in the case of a release under a special permit for an immediate delivery under 19 CFR 142.21 or in the case of an entry under 19 CFR 142.3, on the commercial invoice or an attachment thereto. Further, importers are allowed to use paper blanket certifications, which are valid at one port of entry for one year.

The changes implemented through the final rule include the following.

- providing an electronic option for filing TSCA certifications and notices of exportation and abandonment

- requiring the submission of additional information relating to the certifying individual, including name, phone number and email address, for TSCA certifications submitted either in writing or electronically

- eliminating the blanket certification process, which has limited utility and is more burdensome than the current entry-specific certification process

- including language to make clear that the regulation applies to the importation of chemicals regardless of whether they are chemical substances subject to TSCA

- revising and adding definitions to clarify that certification obligations apply to both chemical substances and mixtures that are subject to TSCA (which require a positive certification) and those that are not (which require a negative certification unless clearly identified as a TSCA-excluded chemical)

- concluding the PGA message set test with regard to the submission of the TSCA certification

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