Effective Oct. 5 U.S. Customs and Border Protection will require all imports of textile and apparel goods from Mexico that are eligible for preferential duty treatment under a tariff preference level to have a valid certificate of eligibility with a corresponding Electronic Certification System (eCERT) transmission in order for the importer to be able to claim the preferential duty rate.

The USMCA requires the use of an electronic system for the transmission of a certificate of eligibility and other documentation related to TPLs for goods imported into the U.S., and the U.S. and Mexico have agreed to implement the eCERT process to fulfill that requirement. Mexico currently submits certificates of eligibility to CBP via email and, in the administration of the TPL, CBP validates these certificates with the certificate numbers provided by importers of record on their entry summaries.

CBP notes that this transition will not change the TPL filing process or requirements applicable to importers of record, who will continue to provide the certificate numbers from Mexico in the same manner as when currently filing entry summaries. The format of the certificate of eligibility numbers will remain the same for the corresponding eCERT transmissions.

According to CBP, eCERT uses electronic data transmissions of information normally associated with a required export document, such as a license or certificate, to facilitate the administration of TPLs and ensure that the proper restraint levels are charged without being exceeded. Specific data elements are transmitted to CBP by the importer (or an authorized customs broker) when filing an entry summary and those data elements must match eCERT data from the foreign country before an importer may claim the preferential duty rate under a TPL. An importer may claim a preferential duty rate when merchandise is entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption, only if the information transmitted by the importer matches the information transmitted by the foreign government.

For more information on trade-related issues affecting textiles and apparel, please contact attorney Elise Shibles at (415) 490-1403 or via email.

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