Customs and Border Protection (CBP) directors urged West Coast brokers and forwarders to file trade documentation through the evolving “single window” initiative that CBP and several participating government agencies have established, even though mandatory electronic filing is still more than four months away.
The “single window” concept has huge potential for streamlining the filing of import and export documentation. Each agency has its own particular forms and documentation requirements, and its own system for receiving and processing the documents. Under the single window, the trade community will file through a single portal in order to reach all of the agencies that have filing requirements for various types of shipments.
CBP is urging importers, exporters, customs brokers and forwarders to participate in ACE and its single window for two reasons. The Customs’ initiatives will help the federal agencies involved in processing trade documentation do their jobs better, and the programs will provide actionable reports to the trade community easier, faster and in a more comprehensive format than ever before.
The mandatory filing of entry and entry-release documents to CBP and other federal agencies -known as participating government agencies or PGAs – that are involved in processing trade documentation was originally scheduled to take effect on November 1. However, the date was pushed back to February 28, 2016, when it became apparent in August that many importers, exporters, brokers and forwarders, as well as software programmers and some of the government agencies themselves, wouldn’t be ready for the November 1st date.
Nevertheless, CBP already has the capability of processing documents at the time of entry, as well after the shipments have been released, and in fact has been running several pilot projects to entice the trade community to get used to filing those documents electronically. CBP’s goal is to educate forwarders, brokers and their exporter and importer clients to become comfortable with electronic filing before the legacy systems are turned off and the trade community has no choice but to file through ACE and its single-window component.
Sandra Langford-Coty, vice president at Barthco International, dba OHL International, said that under ACE and the single window, the trade community will be required to file fewer data elements, CBP release for each filing will take two minutes or less and the system will generate a wealth of reports and information the trade can use.
Customs managers and customs brokers urged brokers who have not yet begun to file through ACE to get started soon by joining in the pilot projects, and to encourage their clients to do become familiar with electronic filing as well. Since CBP and the PGAs are still working to turn the pilots into finished programs, there is time for the trade community to help the government develop programs that are responsive to the needs of importers, exporters and brokers.
The source: The Journal of Commerce