Background

More than three years after launching an effort to develop the 21st Century Customs Framework, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is starting to make some progress with the help of the trade community. ST&R’s Lenny Feldman reports that the most recent meeting of CBP’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee provided some interesting insights on the 21CCF.

First, COAC revealed that statutory changes in several areas are on their way toward draft language. These include de minimis entry data standards, exchange of enforcement information with the trade community, recordkeeping requirements for additional parties, expedited procedures for the examination and detention of merchandise, protests for International Trade Commission exclusions, fines for trademark infringing merchandise, and arrival, reporting, and clearance violation penalties for other involved parties.

Second, COAC noted that in other areas work will continue in an attempt to reach consensus on new statutory language. These include advance information for formal entry, expanded use of advance electronic information, importer of record sanctions, bonds and security requirements, additional parties to antidumping and countervailing duty evasion actions, seizure and penalty procedures for inadmissible goods, and commercial penalty standards of culpability.

Third, to balance provisions emphasizing enforcement, COAC called for the codification of partner government agency engagement with the trade, a true one U.S. government cargo release through unified cargo processing and release protocols, mandating CTPAT-PGA partnership programs, and reducing the merchandise processing fee for CTPAT members. Other recommendations focused on data sharing protocols between CBP and PGAs, harmonizing PGA data collection and analytics, evaluating account-based processing, enhancing trade automation, and modernizing entry processing.

A white paper detailing specific 21CCF changes CBP has proposed and the trade community’s responses is available here. While this paper shows that meaningful forward progress is being made, Feldman said, there is still a long way to go.

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