CBP continues to consider combining Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) with C-TPAT, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David Aguilar said during a House May 17 hearing on Customs issues . He also said critical fixes to already deployed ACE capabilities are among the major goals for CBP in the coming year. E-Manifest: Rail and Sea (M1), simplified entry, and the integration of export capability are also top priorities, he said in response to questions following his written testimony.
Each effort includes a set of metrics to measure successes of ACE, said Aguilar. For instance, entry summary filers, number of entry files, post-summary corrections, validation activities under ACE are all being counted, he said. ACE will eventually give CBP the ability to segment risk, putting into different categories goods that CBP knows less about, he said. More has been done on ACE in the last two years than had been done in the prior five years, he said.
Aguilar said CBP is moving well toward aligning government agency interests in dealing with goods coming into the U.S. Some 60 percent of holds of goods coming into the country come from agencies other then CBP and, in those cases, CBP must spend large amounts of time gathering the information, he said. The International Trade Data System (ITDS) will help deal with those problems, he said. Aguilar also said CBP is now capable of sharing information with rights holder to show that stopped goods are valid or violative products, which will improve the agency’s ability to recognize illegal goods.
CBP is continuing to look at combining the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) program with the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program, said Aguilar. The combination would reduce inspections and the number of audits, and CBP is working with industry to identify other incentives for participation, he said.
Raising the de minimis value of goods that can be brought into the U.S. duty free above $200 would not significantly lessen the work done by CBP, said Aguilar. Assessments done by CBP have shown there would be a minimal effect on operations from raising this 19 USC 1321 amount because most of the work is done virtually and electronically, he said. However, CBP is formulating an interim final rule on informal entry, to increase the maximum value from $2,000 to $2,500, Aguilar said. The interim rule is expected within 60-90 days. In addition, Rep. Aaron Schock, (R-Ill.) said he’s working on a legislative fix toward increasing the amount, at the request of the business community.
Aguilar also said the “Beyond the Border” action plan is moving forward in a very positive manner. Some are more difficult, including interagency alignment, both on the U.S. and on the Canada side, he said. Both countries are still moving assertively forward, said Aguilar. Another challenging item is pre-clearance on each others’ operations, he said.
The goal for ITDS and ACE is to make seamless for users, though, when patching together 47 different government agencies, there are a lot of seams, said Timothy Skud Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax, Trade and Tariff Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Recently there’s been a push to focus on thing “on the basics” in designing ITDS, he said.
(See ITT’s 12051732 and 12051624 for summaries of House Trade Subcommittee Brady’s hearing statements and NCBFAA President’s written testimony, respectively. See ITT 12030723 for summary of CBP’s view that its Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs) are virtual ports, and they would focus on ISA partners.)