On today's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trade update call, CBP began by stating that the Broker Exam is still currently scheduled for April 24, but that they will make a final determination as the date approaches if we are still in furlough. The April exam will be based on 2019 references and resources, including the 2019 HTS. CBP does not believe the shutdown will have a major impact on the contents or preparation for the exam. Applicants are not currently allowed to register, but CBP will follow-up with the trade.
In regard to ACE, last week CBP discussed pending deployments; specifically, CBPF 5106. CBP reiterated that they have delayed that deployment until "well after" the shutdown. Once the shutdown is over, they will determine a date that is realistic for everyone. CBP stated that no deployments later in the year are currently being pushed back.
As for registering vessels with the LEI code, there is no available routine option. If it's an emergency or in the interest of national security, you should open a ticket. A participant on the call was told by the port that they should manifest the vessel with the vessel name, not the Lloyd's number, and that would work. CBP made note of that and said it is important to keep good records during this time. A question was then asked regarding whether cargo releases differ by PGA and CBP stated that, if you received a may proceed, in the absence of any communication with that PGA, you are good to go. However, if the PGA identifies any issues, you may be asked to redeliver the goods to the port. When the release notification of the CBP release goes out, it is considered a conditional release and is good for 30 days. CBP always has the right to request redelivery within 30 days. If you receive an automated may proceed or a 1USG release, there is a significantly reduced chance you'll be asked to redeliver the goods.
There was EPA issued guidance on the Formaldehyde standard in December as well as a CBP issued CSMS. The EPA is working with CBP in a very limited fashion to finalize a list of the codes. A full list of the codes will have to wait until after the shutdown is over to be released.
When asked about "cut flowers" currently coming into the Port of Miami ahead of the Valentine's Day surge, CBP noted that they will do their best, but will not be able to supply the additional resources they have traditionally been able to send. As for supplemental state of Florida resources, CBP Headquarters has not received a notice from the field office to that affect.
A question was asked to CBP about whether there are any PGA shipments that are "particularly problematic" and for which they don't have good contacts and CBP responded by saying they have been able to identify limited points of contact for the PGAs as needed. CBP says that if you run into any issues, you are advised to either feed it back through your primary points of contact at the PGAs or pass it along to their CBP field employees. It was brought up that in 2013, the EPA was the most challenging but that there have been no major issues so far except for the NOAA issue.
As for whether or not there was any anticipated delay in the February 24 drawback deployment, CBP stated that they are still planning on deploying on that date as it is statutorily mandated. If CBP is still experiencing a lapse of appropriations, there will be less support available for the deployment rollout but will still be able to make the change. There is currently no longer an issue in the system when accepting claims on 301 duties. The bug preventing the filing against 301 has been addressed and corrected and it is now possible for the system to accept those claims. After the shutdown, they will have more people available to address high-level issues, but for the time being, examples of bugs should go to OTdrawback@dhs.cbp.gov.
With the Federal Reserve no longer publishing currency rates of exchange, CBP advised that while they are not in a position to determine what sources you use, there are many reputable "open source" sources available. Filers are advised to find a reputable source for the currency exchange rates and keep good records.
The National Finance Center usually has a delay in processing annual user fee payments of commercial trucks and airplanes, but it is longer than normal this year due to the shutdown. There will be a CSMS message released telling individuals to save their payment receipt and use that receipt as proof of purchase when filing to mitigate any delay. This applies to both new and renewal payments. The ports are doing normal processing. When asked if CBP will issue guidance to the field "to not hold fast to showing that pink receipt," CBP said that if there is a challenge, first contact the port and then let CBP know if that doesn't resolve the issue.
A question regarding whether CBP lab technicians were furloughed was asked, and a CBP representative said he did not believe that was the case but will follow-up to get an accurate answer.
CBP stated that comment periods will not be extended and that all comments for the 21st Century Customs Framework are still due by February 4. The in-person meeting registration is closed, but the teleconference has been reopened. If you were having trouble registering before, please try again. There has been no decision made on a go/no-go date.
Lastly, CBP said that any meetings/events that involve travel are off. They cannot support any local meetings during the shutdown. There is a CESAC meeting planned for February 19-20.The next CBP Trade Update Call is scheduled for Monday, January 28. The NCBFAA will continue to take part in these trade calls and will update our members as situations develop.