NCBFAA Files Comments With Customs On TRADAC Regulations

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

Washington, DCIn a letter to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) raised a number of issues on CBP's July Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding electronic transmission of information before cargo is either brought into or sent from the U.S. by any mode of transportation. This proposal would supplement the so-called 24 Hour Rule on inbound ocean transportation by now establishing comparable data and advanced filing requirements for other modes as well.
        Although many issues were addressed thanks to the earlier vetting of "strawman" proposals, a number of concerns NVOCCs, air forwarders, surface freight forwarders, remain and the NCBFAA's letter addresses some of them, including:

  • The Association believes that CBP is required to - and should - do a more meaningful analysis of the effect of the rules on small businesses, such as most of the intermediary community. CBP clearly underestimated the effect of the 24 Hour Rule on NVOCCs when that rule was published; this oversight should not be repeated. Instead, the NCBFAA suggested that Customs should consider both the operational effect resulting from the proposed rules as well as the costs that are likely to be imposed on filing parties.
  • While CBP specifically indicated that data filed for air, truck and rail shipments would remain confidential; it neglected to consider this issue for outbound ocean shipments. Since outbound data is being filed via AES, rather than AMS, it should not be treated as cargo manifest information, which is subject to disclosure provisions of 19 U.S.C. §1431(c).
  • The NCBFAA urged CBP to do nothing that would diminish the ability of approved filers to utilize Option 4 for AES transmission.
  • For inbound ocean, an issue again has arisen pertaining to the identity of the shipper as a required data element. CBP has proposed to require that the filer list the party who is the owner and exporter of the goods as the required data element. In its Comments, the Association has again explained why NVOCCs may not have such information and should not be at risk for penalties from Customs or operational inconveniences from carriers for this inability.
  • Again, on inbound ocean, Customs has added a new data element requiring the provision of the date and times of departure of the vessels from the foreign port. While this is not necessarily a problem, the proposal adds that the status should be "as reflected in the vessel log." The NCBFAA has pointed out that NVOCCs will not typically have access to the information, so that this requirement should be restricted to being provided to the carriers.
  • On inbound air shipments, the wording of the regulation literally precludes foreign air forwarders that are not domiciled in the U.S. from being able to file directly. Instead, they would need to transmit their information through the airline or one of the other types of parties that are authorized to transmit the data. As this will pose a problem both for those companies, as well as for their U.S. agents and affiliates, the Association suggested that the rule be broadened.

        With headquarters in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA (www.ncbfaa.org) 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 eBriefingQuarterly NCBFAA Bulletin, and various meetings and conferences throughout the year.

 

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