In an effort to keep us informed during the Federal Government shutdown, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is holding bi-weekly conference calls, every Monday and Wednesday, to apprise the trade of on-going developments and to answer any questions we may have.
On Monday, CBP reiterated CSMS #18-000757, stating that they will be unable to process Section 301 exclusions during the shutdown, as the programmers in charge of updating the HTS numbers with their corresponding new 9903 HTS have been furloughed. CBP will not accept entries or PSC's with the new HTS 9903. Protests for the Section 301 exclusions will be accepted since protests do not require a transmitted CF 7501 correction. At the conclusion of the shutdown, CBP will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation. Any updates to the Automated Customs Environment (ACE) will be implemented 10 business days after the shutdown has concluded.
Trucks carrying packages qualifying for Section 321 will still be required to file electronic manifest for truckloads up to 5,000 lines beginning January 1. There is a glitch for manifests having over 5,000 lines and CBP will accept paper on those until the fix can be dealt with after the shutdown. A mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been created for manifest questions.
While EPA's funding has lapsed, they do have enough for serving the ports for clearances. For those shipments that require pre-file approval, filers can work with the ports to get a conditional release so that the cargo can be moved from the ports and held at the importer' premises until the shutdown is over. The TSCA Hotline will remain open, but filers should work with EPA at the ports.
Fines, Penalties and Forfeiture (FP&F) officers have not been furloughed.
After originally stating the ACE Help Desk team had been furloughed, CBP corrected that statement on today's call by saying the ACE Help Desk and the ACE Accounts Service Desk are manned by contractors who are already funded. The Trade Remedy and Entry Summary mailboxes will also still be monitored.
Filers should not experience lack of responses for questions and requests for CF 28's and 29's. The import specialists at the Centers are not furloughed. If a filer is having a response problem, they should raise the question to a Center Team Supervisor.
CBP also took questions from those on the call. Below are the answers to the most pertinent questions.
When asked whether any rulings would be coming during the shutdown, CBP stated that there would be no rulings released during the furlough.
A question regarding other agency availability during the shutdown was asked and CBP responded by saying that it's not CBP's intention to hold cargo, and they intend to conditionally release. FDA is funded. EPA is not funded, but they do have minimal staff available for trade.
When asked about carriers running into a few anomalies with ACE 10+2 programming and whether it would be fixed/ignored for now, CBP noted that there is a recurring timing problem and that they are aware of the problem and are working to correct it.
When asked about deadlines, CBP stated that they are sorting through the funding lapse on legal and administrative processes, but that the trade should go ahead and meet any deadlines due to CBP. The Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) employees should still be working.
In regard to the STOP Act, CBP said that there would be a CSMS message to let the carriers know the requirement exists for the postal service. Not a regulatory requirement for the carriers to obtain that data. There will not be contemplated enforcement actions against the trade as this is a postal service requirement.
With the ITC being furloughed, updates to the HTSUS site for January 1 will not be done until the shutdown is over.
All quota openings for January 2 appear to be operating normally, including 232 quotas.
After being asked about a decrease in liquidation postings over the last week, CBP said they look through their systems and found no reason other than there being only three business days that week.
A question was raised whether or not there would be a delay in Drawback due to programmers being furloughed and CBP responded by saying that they do not expect any delays for the February Drawback deployment.
The NCBFAA will continue to take part in these trade calls and will update our members as situations develop.