Customs Is Topic de Jour During Wednesday Sessions

Tom Mathers
Phone: (202) 466-0222
For Immediate Release

Washington, DCThe National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) will address Customs topics during the Wednesday, March 24, sessions at its 30th Annual Conference slated for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Themed "Security Imperatives and the Bottom Line: Meeting the Challenge," the 2004 Conference is scheduled to run from March 21-24.
       Beginning first thing at 9 a.m., "ACE Release 3 - Broker Portal & Monthly Duty Statement" will tee up developments in this area. Continuing its mission of informing our community regarding CBP Modernization, and the development of the new Automated Commercial Environment in particular, this session will focus on Releases 3, scheduled for delivery this year. Pursuant to a February 4th Federal Register notice, CBP has already begun taking applications for participation in the user acceptance testing of the Periodic Monthly Statement at the end of May. Monthly settlement of duties on an ACE statement is based on requirements written by the Trade Support Network Revenue Committee and review of this application will be lead by a member of that committee. 
       Likewise, the customs broker ACE account portal design is based on requirements developed by the TSN Broker Account Subcommittee and the discussion of this topic will be lead by a member of that subcommittee. At the very least this session should prepare you for the new business process comprising these early deliverables on the ACE promise. Hopefully it will give you the edge needed to quickly convert the challenges of ACE to efficiencies in your business.
       Following at 10:30 a.m. will be "Advance Cargo Information; Cost Factor or Profit Spinner." The emergence of advance cargo information as a critical component of our national mission to enhance supply chain security has tested many of our customary usages for expediting cargo. Concern with the effect of the 24-hour Rule led to the trade solution adopted by CBP in the special bill alternative. In a similar way, the trade has exposed problems with the new definition of shipper for bills of lading. At some point we will need to convert the knowledge, capabilities and services developed to meet these new challenges into profit. This session will explore the requirements, the stumbling blocks and the penalties that may retard us in reaching that goal.
       In a concurrent 10:30 a.m. session will be another hot button topic, "FDA - BTA; The Latest Security Service in the Broker's Suite." This session will cover the implementation and enforcement of the Prior Notice regulations under the BTA. Filing of prior notice began on December 12, 2003. FDA and CBP determined that there would be an initial phase with very little enforcement. This period was designed to make everyone familiar with the requirements of Prior Notice. This initial low enforcement phase ends on March 12, 2004. The next phase, which runs through May 12, 2004, will introduce civil penalties for failure to provide proper Prior Notice. We will have Headquarters’ representatives from FDA and CBP to explain this new phase and to educate us about problems found during the first phase. We also have the chair of our Regulatory Affairs Committee who will present the broker perspective on the good, bad and ugly of the first phase and what we need to do during the second phase.
       During the first afternoon session running from 1:30 to 3 p.m., "CBP Addresses Broker Issues." This panel session features the CBP headquarters managers whose programs will have the greatest impact on our businesses in the coming months. The discussion will address the current NCBFAA Customs Committee agenda and issues listing:

  • Office of Trade Relations - Introducing the new Director; Partnering with the customs brokerage community; Interactions with the NCBFAA; and Tracking from problem identification to resolution.
  • The Security Mission - The future of C-TPAT; C-TPAT Broker Certification; C-TPAT Broker Validation; and Cargo Security - CBP vis-à-vis TSA.
  • Maintenance of ACS - Programming delay for Chile and Singapore FTA’s; Automated in-bond at house bill level in view of C.D. 3240-036A.
  • Broker Management - Introducing the new Director; Development of qualifying examination for customs broker license; Challenging and appeal on customs broker compliance findings and statistics from PATS.
  • By-Products of Increased Cargo Examination - Profiteering by carriers and contracted parties; Impacts on transit time; and Identifying and addressing unwarranted recurring examinations.

       Don’t miss your best opportunity to get straight answers direct from the source to the questions that matter the most to your business success.
       The Conference will close with a 3:30 –4:30 p.m. debate on "Should NCBFAA Become A Professional Organization." In the spirit of Lincoln and Douglas, the question of whether NCBFAA should become an organization consisting of individual members, instead of business entities, will be the subject of debate. We are honored to have a team headed by President Federico Zuniga, Treasurer F. Zuniga, Inc. speaking in favor of the question and a team of two former NCBFAA Presidents, Harold Brauner, President Brauner International, Corp. and Leonard M. Shayne, NCBFAA Senior Counselor to speak against it. The debate will be moderated by NCBFAA General Counsel Harvey A. Isaacs and judged by two distinguished members of the bar, Richard M. Belanger, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP and Alan R. Klestadt, Partner, Grunfeld Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP. The audience will also be polled to determine the winners.
       With headquarters in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA ( represents nearly 700 member companies - the nation's leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) and air cargo agents. Established in 1897 in New York, NCBFAA is the strong, effective national voice of the industry. Through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members. It keeps them informed of these and other related issues through its weekly Monday Morning eBriefing, Quarterly NCBFAA Bulletin, and various meetings and conferences throughout the year.


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