ACE Allows for Stricter Customs Enforcement

By Susan Kohn Ross

First published by Journal of Commerce, August 2016

In the face of its recent reorganization and enhanced computer system, it was really only a matter of time before the trade community started to see Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) better organize its enforcement efforts, and now the first tangible step has been publicly disclosed.

When the concept for the Centers for Excellence and Expertise was rolled out, it was logical to expect that CBP would combine the enhanced computer capabilities of the Automated Commercial Environment with information developed from the industry focused CEEs. That meant, we would eventually see CBP relying on computer analytics and internal expertise to help the agency pinpoint where to focus its enforcement efforts. Over the years, we had seen those with the most experience retire. CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement seemed to lose their ability to make serious fraud cases. Yes, criminal cases for trade fraud, involving for example for antidumping and export license violations, continued to be brought, but it has been a long time since we have heard about a really significant civil penalty. Sure, some smaller fish got caught, and many of them did some really dumb things. Others who got caught just plain cheated. Now, however, CBP has launched a round of “informed compliance” letters, which are really warning letters to the trade community. Continue reading “ACE Allows for Stricter Customs Enforcement”

The More Things Change – The More They Stay The Same

By Susan Kohn Ross

Originally published by the Journal of Commerce in January 2016

In writing this article, it was interesting to look back and see whether the old crystal ball was accurate in its predictions in earlier years. Truthfully, the expectation was the old themes were similar over time, and that turned out to be the case. Those earlier articles made clear, the challenges facing businesses in the context of import and export remain complex. By way of example, one constant theme is the rising cost of compliance. A related theme has to do with the expanding complexity of issues demanding compliance efforts. Continue reading “The More Things Change – The More They Stay The Same”

ACE Deadline Reminder for Imports and Exports

By Susan Kohn Ross

On February 28, 2016, those involved with imports and exports are preparing to undergo a major transition. As of that date, all entries must be filed using the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system. ACE not only replaces the current Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system, but is designed to reengineer CBP’s operational processes; develop a new technology infrastructure; and integrate commercial, enforcement and administrative operations. The goal is to create a “single window” using the ACE system for imports and exports, and to streamline the process for goods entering and leaving the country. Continue reading “ACE Deadline Reminder for Imports and Exports”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Has ACE Up Its Sleeve

By Susan Kohn Ross

A version of this article was also published by the Journal of Commerce in February 2016.

What a difference a few days make! Up until Monday, February 8th, it was understood that on February 28th, CBP entries, and those filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) (Lacey Act) would all have to be filed through ACE. Thirteen more PGAs were scheduled to come on-line in July 2016, full implementation for all remaining electronic portions of the CBP cargo process was scheduled for October 2016 and ACE for all agencies and all purposes would be operational by December 2016. Continue reading “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Has ACE Up Its Sleeve”

Be Careful What You Wish For!

By Susan Kohn Ross

Originally published by the Journal of Commerce in June 2015

This oft-stated warning is certainly true for those who engage in international trade. For many years, industry has complained to government about different agencies wanting different information at different times in the release process; some would take the data electronically, while others insisted on hard copies; the data elements were not identical; and, if filers have to input the data more than once, the likelihood of clerical errors rises. Well, all that comes to an end on November 1, 2015 when use of ACE becomes mandatory for all cargo release and entry summary filing. October 1, 2016 is the date by which use of ACE becomes mandatory for all remaining electronic portions of the CBP cargo process. What does this mean for importers and exporters? Continue reading “Be Careful What You Wish For!”