CBP Expands its Simplified Entry Program

Sep 10, 2012   

If you have ever attempted to import merchandise into the United States you are probably aware that there are numerous rules, regulations, forms, and guidelines which must be compiled with and submitted prior to the entry of your goods. For even the most seasoned importer, the task of properly assembling this information for US Customs & Border Protection (“CBP” or “Customs”) can seem confusing and overwhelming. Recognizing these difficulties, Customs has formulated the Trade Transformation Initiative. This initiative focuses on driving down trade costs and promoting trade efficiency. The intended result is a more streamlined and efficient means for importers and brokers to expedite the clearance and review process of their trade goods.

On November 9, 2011, CBP announced the commencement of the initial phase of its Simplified Entry Pilot Program (“SEP Program” or “Program”). Serving as one of CBPs integral trade transformation initiatives, the Program was created to streamline the entry process, enhance cargo security, and reduce transaction costs for trade. This Program offers a direct response to the industrys call for more predictability in the importation process. Under the Programs framework, importers produce an entry data set with 12 required elements and 3 optional elements as opposed to the 27 currently required on the CBP 3461 entry form. Carriers will be required to submit manifest/ ACAS security filings, and importers will submit the SEP Program data set. All of this data will be included in the newly developed commercial trade processing system called the Automated Commercial Environment (“ACE”).

Filing well in advance allows CBP to run all targeting earlier and ensure that transport is not delayed for issues that can be resolved pre-shipment. While in route, CBP can indicate whether the goods are cleared for release or if additional data is required. Because of this, filers can resolve many issues before departure or in transit which results in a more efficient trade transaction. On June 4, 2012 CBP announced that it had received its first Simplified Entry filings at the three pilot ports located in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Atlanta. 9 brokers selected by CBP are currently participating in the Program which is available for Air Mode of Transportation exclusively.

On August 14, 2012, CBP announced its plans to further expand the SEP Program for Air Mode of Transportation.  Utilizing a regional expansion approach, the Program has already expanded to include the port of Seattle with San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles to follow soon after. In Mid-September expansion will continue into the south and southeast with the inclusion of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, and Miami followed by northeastern expansion into Newark, New York, and Boston.

CBP plans to further develop the Simplified Entry Pilot program to eventually include functionalities such as the Participating Government Agency Message Set, the Simplified Entry transaction set, Single Transaction Bonds, automatic cancellations and deletions, the Document Image System, and Remote Location Filing. CBP will run the Air Mode Transportation SEP Program until approximately December 31, 2013 and will continue to further develop the Programs functionality until Cargo Release is fully available in the ACE.

The attorneys in the Customs, Import and Trade Law practice group at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL will continue to keep abreast of the developments in the Simplified Entry Program. If you are a broker and have any trade concerns or legal issues stemming from the use or implementation of the new Simplified Entry Program, feel free to contact us at 305-350-5690 or contact@fidjlaw.com.