The Laredo Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers Association, Inc.


  • 02/25/2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Earlier today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released "Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food," an outline of the agency's comprehensive approach to ensuring the safety of food imported in the United States.

    "An important aim of the agency's strategy for the safety of imported food," writes FDA in the introduction to their plan, "is to assure Americans that food imported from abroad is held to the same food safety requirements as food produced domestically."

    This has become extremely important over the years as the United States "imports food from more than 200 countries or territories and approximately 125,000 exporting food facilities plus farms." This year alone "between 14 and 15 million shipments of imported food are expected to enter the United States."

    To help them achieve their mission of ensuring the safety of imported food, the FDA set their three main safety goals as:

    1. Preventing food safety problems in the foreign supply chain prior to entry into the United States;
    2. Effectively detecting and refusing entry of unsafe foods at the border; and
    3. Rapidly responding when FDA learns of unsafe imported foods.

    A fourth, overarching goal for their entire strategy is to create an effective and efficient food import program.

    If you would like more information on how they plan to implement the strategy and accomplish their goals, please be sure to check out the "Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food" document here
  • 02/25/2019 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that March 16 will be the deployment date of the revised CBP Form 5106 in ACE. CBP states that the "revised form will include new data elements, which will provide additional detail on individuals and organizations requesting to be recognized as Importers of Record (IOR), thereby enhancing CBP's ability to perform risk assessments."

    CBP also addresses common questions related to Form 5106:

    What will stay the same in ACE?

    All existing data elements required or conditionally required under the current CBP Form 5106 will remain.

    What will change in ACE?

    • Form is officially renamed the "Create/Update Importer Identity Form."
    • The only new required data elements on the revised form are:
    • Email address for the IOR; and
    • Type of address(es)
    • The new optional data elements on the revised form are:
    • Estimated entries per year;
    • How the IOR will be used (Importer, Consignee, etc.);
    • Trusted Trader program codes;
    • Fax number;
    • Website;
    • Business Description;
    • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code;
    • Dun & Bradstreet Number (D-U-N-S);
    • Filer Code;
    • Year established;
    • Related business entities Employer Identification Numbers (EINs);
    • Banking information;
    • Certificate or articles of incorporation information; and
    • Information for up to four beneficial owners and/or company officers

    What additional resources are available?

    • The cutover details for submission to ACE is as follows:
    • The legacy Importer Create/Update ABI application (TI) will be disabled at 8:00pm on Friday, March 15, 2019. Any submissions of the TI after that time will be rejected.
    • During the outage window, the new ACE Importer Create/Update functionality for Trade and CBP users will be deployed to ACE production.
    • Legacy importer accounts will be converted to new ACE as part of the deployment of the 5106 in new ACE.
    • Any new ACE Importer Create/Update submissions (TP) submitted to ACE prior to completion of the deployment will be held in queue and processed once the entire deployment is completed.
    • The new data elements in the Importer/Bond Query (KI), specifically the Full Legal Importer Name and Center ID/Description, will not be returned in the query response (KR) until the entire deployment is completed.
    • Federal Register Notices (FRNs): 79 FR 61091, 80 FR 492.56 and 80 FR 44361.
    • Draft Importer/Consignee Create/Update CATAIR.
    • A quick reference guide will be provided prior to the deployment date.
    • Post-deployment support calls, daily March 18 - 22, 2019.

    Who do I contact if I have issues?

    Technical questions related to testing and using the revised CBP Form 5106 (Create/Update Importer Identity Form) in ACE should be addressed by a Client Representative or the ACE Account Service Desk (ASD) at 1-866-530-4172 or

    Revised CBP Form 5106 policy questions should be emailed to

  • 02/19/2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Beginning March 22, 2019, importers of certain types of composite wood products will need to certify that their imported products comply with the formaldehyde emissions standards under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Title VI. The TSCA Title VI formaldehyde emissions standards apply to three types of composite wood products: 

    1) hardwood plywood; 

    2) medium-density fiberboard (MDF); and 

    3) particleboard - whether the product is unfinished panels or incorporated into component parts or finished goods. 

    The foreign producer must have the products tested and certified by an EPA-recognized 3rd party certifier.

    Composite wood products are commonly used in the manufacture of furniture, kitchen cabinets, flooring, picture frames, and wooden children's toys.

    When filing an entry, customs brokers will need to provide the name, telephone number and email of the individual (the importer or agent) who is certifying that the products comply with TSCA Title VI.

    The importer's responsibilities include:

    • Certifying at entry that the wood product is compliant with TSCA (or certifying that the product is not subject to TSCA);
    • Recordkeeping: For 3 years, the importer must keep an invoice, bill of lading or comparable document that states the product is compliant with TSCA Title VI
    • Upon the request of EPA, the importer must be able to make records available to the EPA (within 30 days) identifying the panel producer, the date produced, the supplier and the date the products were purchased. [The importer is not required to maintain this information, but will be required to have the supplier or producer provide the information when requested to do so.]

    With the deadline fast approaching, customs brokers will want to prepare clients who import composite wood products subject to the formaldehyde emissions requirements for these new responsibilities. The EPA is scheduled to co-host two upcoming webinars that will cover importer responsibilities under this regulation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The webinars will have the same content and will be hosted on February 26 and March 6 from 2-3 pm EST.

    To register for the February 26 webinar, please click here.

    To register for the March 6 webinar please see click here

    One portion of the webinar will discuss general rule requirements for importers of regulated composite wood products and component parts/finished goods, for which the compliance date began on June 1, 2018. Another portion of the webinar will discuss the TSCA Section 13 import certification requirements, which go into effect on March 22, 2019. These two webinars are intended for importers, import brokers, and other interested TSCA Title VI regulated stakeholders who may import products into the customs territory of the U.S. that are, or contain, TSCA Title VI regulated composite wood products. The webinars will also include time for questions and answers at the end of the presentation with staff from the EPA and CBP.
  • 01/28/2019 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    With today's reopening of the Federal Government, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that this is the last Trade Status Update call scheduled that addresses the most recent government shutdown. CBP thanked the Trade for their patience during the shutdown and asked for continued patience, as it may take a while for things to get back up and running.

    In regard to the Customs Broker License Exam, CBP clarified a few points they made last week. For the upcoming April exam, the 2018 HTS will be used. Traditionally, CBP uses the previous calendar year's materials for their April exams and the current calendar year's materials for their October exam. This means the 2019 HTS will be used in the October exam. Registration for the April exam is expected to open in a few weeks. For those preparing to take the exam, you may consult CBP's website for updates.

    The 21st Century Customs Framework Meeting was the next topic of discussion. The public meeting to discuss the new framework is still scheduled for March 1. CBP is hoping for as many comments as possible. If you haven't yet submitted your comments, be advised that the February 4 is the last day to do so. For those looking to attend, the public meeting has sold out, but registration is still open for those wishing to participate via conference call.

    CBP is not yet prepared to announce a date for the deployment of Form 5106 but will be meeting to discuss deployment plans and will consult with the trade for a date that is "comfortable." More information is forthcoming.

    As for cargo release and entry processing, CBP acknowledged the terrific job the ports and the Centers did to keep trade moving throughout the shutdown. Now that the government is back up and running, PGAs that have release authority, or at least regulatory authority over imported and exported goods, are back today. CBP expects a backlog for the PGAs to work through before things get back to normal and ask for patience as they get up and running. If you have a particular question regarding cargo release, start with the ports. If you are having systemic issues, you can contact either the Office of Trade or the Office of Trade Relations. Additionally, you may contact Tom Overacker or Jim Swanson regarding these issues as well.

    The next topic of discussion was vessel updates in ACE. The personnel in charge of these updates have returned. CBP will begin updating immediately, however, the size of the backlog is currently unknown. If you have any questions or issues, please reach out to either the help desk or Jim Swanson.

    In regard to the delays in the processing of commercial user fee payments, CBP recently posted guidance in the form of a CSMS message. Due to the significant backlog, please continue following the CSMS workaround.

    As a follow-up to a question asked last week regarding the status of CBP labs, CBP stated the labs were operational throughout the shutdown but the trade analysts (roughly one or two per lab) were furloughed. The labs were focused exclusively on health and safety issues. Some of the traditional trade laboratory work, such as testing water-resistant versus water repellent, was not taking place.

    For those in the Trade who have export shipments on hold pending review by CBP, there is a "not insignificant" backlog and as a result, there is an approximately two-week delay.

    As for an update to the scheduling of regulatory audits and what the plan is going forward, CBP responded by saying that Regulatory Audit is back online and are putting together a strategy of when they will resume opening conferences and if it is before or after February 15. More information will be released as decisions are made.

    When asked if CBP had given any thought to the March 1 21st Century Customs Framework meeting, or other meetings around that time, CBP said it is dependent on the meeting. They have already rescheduled some of their meetings already and are looking through details of meetings that take place after February 15 and are trying to be considerate of the arrangements the Trade need to make.

    In regard to in bond regulation and if new dates have been made available, CBP said that while no new date has been announced, they are currently in the process of reevaluating. CBP is looking to reschedule sessions they were working on, but there is no expected change until they have their in-person in-bond working group and full feedback from the Trade
  • 01/23/2019 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    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

    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.
  • 01/17/2019 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Good Afternoon CBP and Trade Colleagues,

    Thank you all for your participation on the Status Calls we have been hosting during the shutdown. The Wednesday (1/16) call presented some questions that required follow up which you will find below:

    CBP Hiatus Status Call w/ Trade (01/16/2019) – Follow Up

    1. Next Status Call will be held Wednesday Jan. 23, 2019 due to the federal holiday on Jan. 21, 2019.

    2. Considering the trade concerns presented and deployment planning needed the 5106 Cutover scheduled for 2/9/2019 will be postponed due to the government shutdown. A new cutover date will be established and messaged with advance notice once the government reopens.

    3. Additional details that were mentioned on the call regarding the CBPF 5106

    CBPF 5106 Information
    Link for NEW CBPF 5106

    Link to the OLD CBPF 5106

    4. ISF-5 Enforcement will be postponed additional details coming soon.

    5. ISF Help Desk: Technically there is not an official ISF Help Desk. Questions related to ISF have been submitted to the Manifest Branch mailbox. Due to the government shutdown that box is not currently monitored.

    6. ISF Reports have not changed nor have they been impacted by the shutdown. They should be operating as normal.

    7. InBond and ISF5 CSMS message is forthcoming
  • 01/17/2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    On today's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trade update call, CBP updated the trade on the phasing in of new in-bond enforcement. Last fall, they were made aware of some issues surrounding enforcement and planned on having meetings in January to prepare for the February meeting. Since there have been no meetings, CBP will be pushing back the February 6 in-bond enforcement for no less than 30 days. There will be additional information forthcoming, but there is nothing in February that you will need to worry about in regard to the enforcement date.

    CBP also announced that if the government is not open by January 18, they will postpone COAC and another trade event taking place in Washington, D.C. Also, the comment period for the 21st Century Customs Framework will not be extended. All comments must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 4.

    CBP clarified information surrounding the issuing of overtime. CBP is allowed to spend/use overtime during the furlough at the Ports of Entry. They are currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) to start 2019. As there is no fiscal year 2019 budget, CBP does not know what their overtime budget will be. Field managers have been directed to be "very prudent" when assigning overtime. The migrant caravan significantly depleted CBP's overtime resources. The ports have been advised that they cannot overspend, as CBP headquarters cannot support a bailout later in the year. The unknowns of not having a 2019 budget require them to be cautious with overtime.

    As far as additional upcoming issues, there will be a special sugar tariff-rate quota opening on January 23, starting at 12:01 a.m. and lasting until 12:00 p.m. A CSMS message is forthcoming and will also include information regarding the shutdown. Form 5106 is scheduled to deploy on February 9. It has been in certification since the beginning of December. CBP has decided that if they are still operating under a shutdown on February 1, they will delay the implementation in ABI. CBP also confirmed that it will be deployed in both ABI and the web portal when it is ready for deployment. They confirmed that once the new Form 5106 is deployed, the old Form will no longer work. When the issue of a late determination for those working in software was raised, CBP said they will take it under advisement. They will talk to their systems workers about the possibility of a 30-day transition but do not envision running concurrent forms.

    CBP reiterated that, through the shutdown, you should continue using the 2018 CBMA guidance as nothing has been released for 2019.

    A question was asked about the shutdown of global entry lanes in San Francisco and whether there is a delay for passengers. CBP responded by saying that, yes, global entry is shut down, but the kiosks are up and running. As for delays for passengers, CBP stated that airports, land borders and seaports are not experiencing any impact in operations. There is also no notifiable uptick in sick-time.

    When asked about if there were any challenges in vessels being cleared, CBP responded by saying there should be no delays.

    CBP has stated that they are not aware of any delays surrounding ACH. ACH employees are working and average a 5 day turn around.

    According to CBP, no ITRAC reports being processed.

    As for whether ISF reports were being impacted, CBP said there should be no change but will follow-up.

    There are also no changes to refunds. There is also an issue with Section 301 exclusions, but HTS employees are furloughed. There is no ability for PSC or change to forward looking entries possible. They are currently in a holding pattern until the end of the shutdown.

  • 01/09/2019 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    On today's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trade update call, CBP announced their upcoming trade collaboration meetings for IPR, blockchain and in-bond will need to be postponed to a later date. As for the upcoming CESAC meeting, it cannot be supported from CBP's side so will probably be rescheduled. The trade update calls are still scheduled for next week and CBP is hopeful that the shutdown will be over and those calls can go on as planned. If the shutdown continues, CBP will be unable to support any upcoming calls.

    CBP acknowledged yesterday's unplanned ACE outage, stating that close to 4:00 p.m. ET, they noticed the ACE system was struggling with database related issues causing hang-ups in the system. Their technicians shut down the inbound transactions to stop them from erroring out and successfully switched over to the back-up database. By 6:15 p.m. ET, the technicians switched back to the main database after confirming everything was operational. Operations were back to normal by 7:00 p.m. ET and the system was processing current. AES direct was also down as a result of it being connected to the ACE portal. CBP noted that AES was down the day before and that if users experience additional problems, they should open a trouble ticket with CBP online, and not Census, as CBP is the mechanical/technical support for AES. CBP says that they have learned that the back-up system is a necessity after the past few years of outages. The back-up is a mirror image (disaster recovery) of the database that is constantly kept up to date.

    The next order of business was the Harmonized Tariff Schedule's (HTS) new Units of Measurement (UOM.) The problem that users have been experiencing is unique to the shutdown, as errors would have been worked out between the International Trade Commission (ITC) and CBP if they were both operating at full capacity and at normal business hours. As it stands, all ITC employees have been furloughed and CBP's HTS employees are also on furlough. CBP's advice is to submit entries using "logic." For example, the UOM for grams was changed from "g" to "gm." There are possibly about 300 of those changes. CBP says that they will not be issuing a universal list of UOM changes as they cannot support that at this time and users should seek out association lists in the meantime.* CBP will continue to will work through it until they are up and running.

    [*As a side note, the NCBFAA has an unofficial and incomplete collection of the new UOM here and here. Please note that we have done our best to double check any and all of our changes and will keep our members apprised of any changes.]

    In regard to the CBMA conference call that was scheduled for Thursday, January 10, CBP says they will have to reschedule. A second question was asked about formal guidance for CBMA. Guidance was supposed to be forthcoming but, for now, everyone should still be following 2018 guidance.

    CBP reiterated that, while ACH was still taking applications and payments, all refunds, including ACH refunds, have been suspended. As the issuing of refunds is a non-accepted function, all employees who support the refund process at the Treasury are not working. CBP also stated that there will be no regulatory audits during the shutdown. When the lapse of appropriations ends, regulatory audits will be rescheduled. Until then, if you have timelines for a request for documents and submissions, you should continue to adhere to those guidelines.

    A question was raised regarding whether or not the Newark and NY Ports were operating on limited hours, and CBP stated that they will monitor the issue and follow-up by sending an email for distribution.

    As for the scheduled in-bond call tomorrow, and for the future ACAS bi-weekly conference calls, CBP says that they will let participants know if the call will occur, either at the close of business the night before or on the morning of. For ACAS, the will send out separate information at a later time. As for anything that has been postponed, CBP will not be able to set the dates until after the shutdown ends.

    CBP reiterated that the inbox is reserved for high-level policy questions and should not be used as a substitute for ABI client representative. All ABI client representative functions are on hiatus until the shut down ends. For stuck shipments, users should reach out to the CBP ACE help desk. For cargo issues, you should speak with the port.

    In regard to the Section 301 tariffs and USTR exclusion requests, CBP state that none of the work is continuing at this time. As for the adjudication on the petitions themselves, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is still functional, but the technical work that is handled by CBP is not. CBP cannot load the approved exclusions into ACE. No additional product approvals will take place during the shutdown. As a note, USTR will begin furloughs at the close of business on January 11.

    At the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all operations (prior notice, entry sampling, etc..) are continuing. As of now, there is no plan to change their covering of the ports. If this changes, the FDA will let everyone know. Until then everyone should continue to use their regular contacts.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently shut down, but CBP has a protocol for critical cargo release. For difficult release issues, you should go to CBP who will be able to talk to the port of entry and interface with EPA's limited staff.

    National account managers are furloughed, so all scheduled calls with them are postponed.

    The quota desk is still staffed and receiving calls. A dedicated email box has also been set up for any quota issues that may arise.

    The next CBP call is scheduled for next Monday, January 14. The NCBFAA will continue to take part in these trade calls and will update our members as situations develop.

  • 01/03/2019 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    Cancellation of CBP Led ACE Calls until
    Federal Government Shutdown Ends

    As an update to our members, the biweekly ACE calls led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have been canceled until the Federal Government shutdown comes to an end.

    The NCBFAA will continue to update its members regarding the on-going Government shutdown until this situation resolves.

  • 01/01/2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Customs Broker User Fee Payment for 2019

    Annual Permit Fee Reminder: 2019 annual user fee of $144.74, which is assessed for each permit held by broker, whether it may be an individual, partnership, association, or corporation is due by close of business January 25, 2019.

    The annual permit user fee and annual national permit fee for calendar year 2019 is $144.74.  See  Federal Register Notice published 11/07/2018.

    The payment is due for each permit held.

    • A district permit and a national permit would necessarily require payment of $289.48.  
    • Four district permits and a national permit would necessarily require payment of $723.70 in calendar year 2019. 

    Permit due dates and the associated fees are generally announced in the Federal Register annually between November and January.

    Payment is presented where the local permit was issued. For permits issued in Laredo, TX please take payment to cashier's office at World Trade Bridge

The Laredo Licensed U.S. Customs Brokers Association, Inc. Laredo, TX 78040--Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved

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