The Danger in Altering Phytosanitary Certificates


Phytosanitary CertificateIt has come to the attention of the customs brokerage community that there has been an increased occurrence of alterations being made to Phytosanitary Certificates by persons unknown. Specifically, these alterations are in the form of invalid “Shipper’s Original” stamps being affixed to the certificates. As outlined below, modifying documents in this manner is a very serious offense with staggering repercussions.

What is a Phytosanitary Certificate?

A Phytosanitary Certificate is a legal document issued by the National Plant Protection Organization of the exporting country. It certifies that the indicated commodity is free of pests and meets the regulations of the importing country. The Phytosanitary Certificates that are currently being altered are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for product entering Canada.

What does ‘Shipper’s Original’ mean?

This is a statement that appears on the bottom of the Phytosanitary Certificate in the form of a pre-printed stamp. There are several variations of the certificate depending on whether it has been pre-printed and filled out by hand or computer generated. Regardless, the words “Shipper’s Original” will appear in either red or black ink on the bottom right-hand corner and may show “Part 1 – Shipper’s Original” versus simply stating “Shipper’s Original”.

Acts that Constitute Alterations

Altering a document includes, but is not limited to:

  • Changing information on the document
  • Attaching a PARS sticker to the document
  • Writing over top of the printing to clarify quantities or other information
  • Cutting out portions of one Phytosanitary and attaching them to another

Suspected Cause for Modified Documents

Due to the unfortunate placement of the “Shipper’s Original” statement, it is relatively easy for the stamp to get cut off on a scan or a fax. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will reject the certificate if the “Shipper’s Original” is not visible on the documentation that they receive by fax. We believe that this has led to the unauthorized cutting and pasting of this statement from one Phytosanitary Certificate to another.

While it may be viewed as a way to expedite the import process, intentionally modifying a Phytosanitary Certificate in any way is forgery of a legal document. Original copies of each Phytosanitary Certificate are forwarded to the regional CFIA office by which the goods were released. CFIA and USDA can, and do, conduct internal and external audits of the Phytosanitary process and match original copies to the copies faxed to CFIA at the time of importation. In instances where forgery has been discovered, harsh penalties will be assessed against importers, exporters and/or carriers, depending on who is conducting the investigation.

Repercussions for Modifying Phytosanitary Certificates

It cannot be stressed enough that alterations of any kind to legal documents are forbidden and the repercussions for committing these forgeries are severe. The fine print on the Phytosanitary certificate issues the following warning:

Warning: Any alteration, forgery, or unauthorized use of this phytosanitary certificate is subject to civil penalties of up to $250,000 (7 U.S.C. Section 7734(b)) or punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both (18 U.S.C Section 1001).

These penalties will be assessed in addition to Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties issued by Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In summary, Phytosanitary Certificates are legal documents that are issued by government agencies and it is a criminal offense punishable by law to alter these documents in any way.

For more information on export certification please visit CFIA’s website: Phytosanitary Certificates

 

Have questions about Phytosanitary Certificates? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

 
 

Automated Export System Filing — Get Your Vehicle Across the U.S. Border


AES Filing - Vehicle Export from USANew export reporting requirements from the U.S.

Effective October 2, 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) mandated the filing of electronic export information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES) or AESDirect for all used self-propelled vehicles, regardless of value or country of destination. Importers and exporters of used self-propelled vehicles need to keep in mind that this new condition is in addition to the current 72-hour notice requirements.

What is considered a used self-propelled vehicle?

Any self-propelled vehicle that has been purchased and then re-sold (even if the vehicle is only days old) is considered a used vehicle; and includes any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motorcycle, motor home, and any other self-propelled machinery or equipment. However, the requirement to file AES does not apply to dealer-to-dealer transactions when the equipment is brand new .

Impact on U.S. exporters?

Automated Export System filing is now mandatory. These regulations apply to all exports of any used-self-propelled vehicle from the U.S. For example, if you are planning to buy a vehicle in the USA and import it to Canada or another country, the new regulation in effect will make the export process a little more complicated. The U.S. exporter or appointed agent is now required to file electronic export information and report to the U.S. Census  through AES to provide vehicle, shipper, and consignee information.

 

Who can file through the Automated Export System?

Automated Export System (AES) filings must be handled by a U.S. domiciled company. A customs broker, freight forwarder or United States Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) can file the AES declaration. In other words, the AES filing for an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) can only be done by a resident of the United States. (i.e. the seller or an appointed agent )

 

How the Automated Export System works?

AES was created as a channel through which required export shipment information reaches the appropriate agency involved in monitoring and validating U.S. exports. Once the AES filing has been completed, an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) will be assigned. The customs broker or importer provides the ITN on the Vehicle Export Cover Sheet to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to file 72 hour notice and bring the vehicle across the U.S. border.

 

Penalties for non-compliance

It is important to understand these requirements to avoid costly penalties. The CBP will begin to issue penalties on behalf of Census in amounts up to  US $10,000 for non-compliance per violation. These penalties may be imposed for failure to file export information in AES, delayed filing, filing of false or misleading information, and any other violations of Foreign Trade Regulations. Canadian buyers of vehicles from the U.S. should start complying right now or risk having the vehicle held up at the border.

How can Pacific Customs Brokers help?

Pacific Customs Brokers can handle these filings on your behalf and offers full and partial Automated Export System (AES) filing services for commercial and individual importers. Contact us to learn how we will help you meet your AES obligations.

 

Do you have questions on exporting a vehicle from the USA? Leave them for us in the comments section below.

 

Additional Resources

 
 

eManifest Deployment Schedule Established


ScheduleRecently, there was a meeting of the Border Commercial Consultative Committee (BCCC) Commercial Projects Sub-committee. At that time, CBSA notified the trade community that a new deployment schedule for future eManifest functionalities has been established.

Following is a notice from the Canada Border Services Agency’s Director General of Information, Science and Technology outlining the details of this deployment. Stakeholders will notice that there has been no date announced for mandatory compliance.  Pacific Customs Brokers will continue to provide details regarding this program as they become available.

 “The latest schedule which will deliver new eManifest features and systems to external clients is as follows:

  • the initial implementation of new and enhanced notices which will improve communication between trade chain partners and with the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2015, and
  • electronic systems (EDI and eManifest Portal) for importers to transmit advance trade data (ATD) to the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2016.”

Canada Border Services Agency Notice:

I am writing to you today to provide an update on the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) progress in the implementation of the eManifest Project.

Over the past few months, the CBSA conducted a comprehensive review of the development, testing and production timelines associated with the delivery of the remaining project components.

I am pleased to advise that this review has resulted in a new deployment schedule for future eManifest functionalities that takes into consideration clients’ requests for time to make changes to their internal business processes and systems, and for the education of CBSA officers.  In addition, since the new deployment schedule introduces functionality incrementally, it enables new systems to run in parallel with existing production systems allowing for early detection and resolution of issues.

The first deployments are foundational in nature and will provide the background and internal system support for the functionality that will ultimately be delivered to the trade community.  One of these deployments was released earlier this summer and additional deployments are planned to be released over the next several months.

Today, I would like to inform you that the schedule for subsequent deployments which will deliver new eManifest features and systems to our external clients is planned as follows:

  • the initial implementation of new and enhanced notices which will improve communication between trade chain partners and with the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2015, and
  • electronic systems (EDI and eManifest Portal) for importers to transmit advance trade data (ATD) to the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2016.

 

As system development continues to move forward, the CBSA will be communicating further details about the eManifest deployment schedule, and how it impacts each stakeholder group, through various channels such as Web site content, Webinar presentations and client mail-outs.

Thank you for your continuing support and valuable input to the eManifest Project.

Bruna Rados
Director General
Information, Science and Technology Branch
Canada Border Services Agency

 

If you have any questions about ACI eManifest, or any other cross-border transportation matters, please do not hesitate to contact our Carrier Relations Liaison at 855.542.6644  or via email at carrierhelpdesk@pcb.ca.

For the latest updates on eManifest visit the Carrier News section of our website regularly or  sign up for our weekly Border Pro newsletter. Additionally, you’ll find the Your Broker Knows YouTube channel to be an excellent resource.

 

Additional Resources:

  1. ACI eManifest: 4 Problematic Situations and How to Handle Them
  2. Regulatory Update: eManifest Amendment Process Outlined

 

 
 

Biennial FDA Food Facility Re-registration Now Open


FoodAbout the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) program:

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) improves the registration process by ensuring, among other things, that the FDA has accurate contact information for each facility. The new registration form also includes new categories of foods. These new categories will help FDA rapidly communicate with the right facilities in the event of an emergency.

Food producers and manufacturers have long been required to register with the Food and Drug Administration. Facilities can register online, via mail or fax. If your company is not domestic (not located within the U.S.) you will be required to assign a U.S. agent in your registration. See below for more information on assigning a U.S. agent.

Read more in our blog: Food Modernization Safety Act – Re-Registering your Facility with the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued further information and guidance regarding registration requirements for domestic and foreign manufacturers, processors, packers or holders of food for human or animal consumption based on changes made by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

Biennial registration renewal for food facilities began at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2014. The updated food facility registration system is accepting food facility registration renewals.

Who must register?

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA), all domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, pack or store food, food ingredients, pet foods or dietary supplements are required to renew their registration with the FDA before the end of 2014 and to re-register every two years thereafter. This represents a change from the previous registration requirement for food facilities. The re-registration form contains new food categories, and requires more detailed and updated contact information.

 Read more in our blog: U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act – Does It Affect Me?

How to re-register a domestic company?

To submit a registration renewal to FDA, a food facility is required to submit required registration information to FDA, including the additional registration information.

If you are affected by the new regulations, you may re-register your food facility online.

How to re-register if not a domestic company?

Pacific Customs Brokers offers the following services:

  • Act as your U.S. Agent
  • Assist with FSMA re-registration
  • Answer your queries regarding FDA requirements

Note: Pacific Customs Brokers does not have to be your U.S. customs broker in order to assist your company with FSMA re-registration.

 

Contact Pacific Customs Brokers for assistance with food facility registrations or the FSMA. To stay current on this topic, you may also want to subscribe to Pacific Customs Brokers weekly trade newsletter.

 

Do you have questions on the FDA food facility re-registration? Share them in our comments section below.

 
 

FDA Releases Updates to FSMA Proposals


Food Safety StampThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a number of new rules during 2013 which have been in various stages of “public comment” for some time. The FDA has recently announced updated proposals to four of the seven rules, based on feedback received from the public.

Four Food Safety Modernization Act Rule Revisions

These four updated proposed rules include:

  1. Produce Safety – More flexible criteria for determining the safety of agricultural water for certain uses and a tiered approach to water testing. A commitment to conduct extensive research on the safe use of raw manure in growing areas and complete a risk assessment.
  2. Preventive Controls for Human Food – Requirements that human food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility’s environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.
  3. Preventive Controls for Animal Food – Requirements that animal food facilities, when appropriate, test products and the food facility’s environment, as well as implement certain supplier controls.
  4. Foreign Supplier Verification Program – A more comprehensive analysis of potential risks associated with foods and foreign suppliers, and more flexibility for importers in determining appropriate supplier verification measures based on their evaluation of those risk

Modifications to Originally Proposed Rules

Some of the modifications to the originally proposed rules include:

  • Revisions to the water quality testing provisions to account for natural variations in water sources and to adjust its approach to manure and compost used in crop production pending further research.
  • Revised definition of which farms would be subject to the produce safety rule, eliminating farms with $25,000 or less in produce sales from being subject to this rule.
  • Spent grains, which are byproducts of alcohol brewing or distilling, commonly used as animal feed,would not be subject to both the animal food rule if the facility already complies with the human food rule.
  • Extended flexibility to determine appropriate supplier verification measures based on risk and previous experience with suppliers.

Commenting on Proposed Regulations

The FDA states that they will accept comments on the proposed revisions for 75 days, and will continue to review previously submitted comments on parts of the rules that will remain the same in their final iterations.  Final rules are now scheduled to be issued in 2014, and will become final within 90 days of issuance.

We should bear in mind that there are still other proposed rules within the FMSA that are in different stages of completion. These are just four of those issues that we believe are of primary importance to importers and exporters who need to ensure all parties within your supply chain are complying with these rules that are now expected to be in place during 2015.

As food and beverage producers adapt to an array of stringent food safety requirements in the coming year, Pacific Customs Brokers is here to help. We can assist you in understanding these regulations and how they may affect your business, all while cutting through the red tape of importing to the United States.

 

Do you have questions about these updates to FSMA proposals? Use the comments section below to offer your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.

 

Related Blog Article:

 

Additional Resources: