PPE Exports: Ready to Go?

Written by Susan Kohn Ross

In CSMS 42506108 issued on April 27, 2020, CBP updated its Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Protective Equipment exports. In it, CBP makes clear the Document Imaging System (DIS) sends a confirmation of receipt, as does AES. If the shipment is held for any reason and/or further action is needed, notice of that is most likely going to come through the carrier. In short, absent negative information, the export is ready to go.

When it comes to any Letter of Attestation (“Letter”), CBP has made clear these should be submitted through the DIS. The size limit for CBP is up to 10 MB. The email address is docs@cbp.dhs.gov. There are additional criteria to consider:

The email Subject Line:
CAT=GEN; ITN=X12345678910111; ACTION= ADD

The body of the email should contain the data elements identified below mandatory are required the others are optional.

TRANSMITTER_NAME= Mandatory (Name of company)
PORT_CD = (4 digit port code) Conditional
POC_INFO= Optional (Name and Phone Number)
COMMENT= Optional (Any clarification/remark)
RETURN_EMAIL_ADDRESS= Optional (if different than sender email address)

International traders are cautioned to NOT send any Letter to mailboxes belonging to any specific CBP person or group for the simple reason submitting through the DIS allows for earlier review and lessens the likelihood of delays. If you send an email, CBP will assume the shipment is being detained pending review and the exemption is being claimed at that time.

With shipments to Canada, for which there is no AES data, CBP is connecting the Letter to the shipment by 1) the voluntary filing in AES with a DIS attachment; 2) providing the Letter on demand to CBP because the shipment was detained; and 3) providing the Letter to the carrier upon request, in which case CBP may still temporarily hold the shipment, but the release process should be quicker.

Within transit shipments, if CBP needs additional information, a Letter may be provided. A Letter is required for AES filings for foreign goods that are temporarily kept in a bonded warehouse (including GO) or FTZ before being exported. At the same time, AES is generally required, so the Letter should be submitted accordingly. It is FEMA which is deciding when the Letter is required and evidence of it should be retained in any case for post-shipment audits.

Do not expect to rely on your carrier to expedite the process. Rather CBP identifies early filing of AES and supporting documents as the best bet. CBP also urges carriers and forwarders to participate in the EEM (Electronic Export Manifest) pilot.

In terms of CBP identifying shipments covered by FEMA authority, CBP will use AES but also perform data review, document review and physical examination of shipments. Holds will continue to be notified to the carriers in the existing manner. At the same time, CBP has said for any shipments already exported which are subject to FEMA’s authority, there is currently no intent to order those goods returned.

To the extent there is disagreement between the carrier and local CBP about how the regulatory framework is to be interpreted, CBP has established a national process for the review of all shipments that are subject to FEMA’s authority. It starts with a hold at the port and goes through a review of documents, etc. If questions remain, the information is forwarded to CBP and FEMA headquarters personnel. Ultimately, the decision is made the FEMA Administrator and other senior U.S. Government officials whether the shipment is allowed to be exported, diverted back into U.S. commerce or allocated by the government.

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