Archive for the ‘US Customs’ Category


 

Biennial FDA Food Facility Re-registration Opens October 1, 2016

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 begins at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2016. 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 2016 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

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 or email Ask Your Broker today.

Estimated vs. Actual Duty Costs: CBP Liquidation Explained

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is common practice for customs brokers to invoice for projected duty, often listed as “estimated costs,” on the invoice instead of the actual duty payable. Amounts that must actually be paid remain an “estimate” with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) until “liquidated.” The liquidation process can be lengthy, therefore “estimated costs” are used until such time as the final determination is set by CBP.

According to CBP, liquidation is defined as, “the final computation or ascertainment of duties on entries for consumption or drawback entries.” (Source: 19 CFR §159.1)

The Liquidation Process

Importers are required to declare imported goods to CBP in the form of an entry, often prepared by a customs broker. Based on the value of the goods and H.S. tariff classification, duties and taxes are calculated and paid to CBP either direct by the Importer of Record (IOR), or by the customs broker on behalf of the IOR. CBP will review the entry for duty and tax accuracy (during the pre-liquidation period) and either agree with the calculations as paid or inform the customs broker or IOR of the recalculated amounts and any duties owing or payable. CBP will then liquidate the entry 314 days after entry submission.

Liquidation can be extended upon request, however the IOR must provide reason to do so. CBP is also at liberty to extend this time frame if the duty payable amounts are in question. Extensions are granted in one year increments and cannot be extended more than 3 times.

Anti-dumping and or countervailing duty investigations can cause the liquidation process to be suspended, as can a number of other issues, such as reconciliation entries our outstanding ruling requests.

Many IORs ask how they will know when the liquidation has been completed. Importers will receive a Courtesy Notice of Liquidation on a form 4333A, which utilizes the date of the actual liquidation. This notice requires no further action apart from record keeping requirements. However, if there is additional duty owing, the Courtesy Notice of Liquidation will be pink and if customs has extended or suspended the liquidation, this will be indicated on the form.

While the liquidation of entries may seem like a simple matter, it is important that importers review their liquidation notices for anomalies such as extensions, suspension, changed status, change in amounts due, etc. While the majority of entries do liquidate on schedule and as expected, there can be surprises. Should you receive a liquidation notice that does not match your expectations, get in touch with your customs broker for clarification as soon as possible in order to maintain your legal right to protest the matter should you find it objectionable.

Have you received a questionable liquidation notice? Share with us in the comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

Are You Subject to a U.S. Customs Audit?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All companies importing goods into the U.S. are subject to audit – no matter their size, scope of business or resident or non-resident importer. Therefore it’s important to know what U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) looks at when determining who to audit.

CBP utilizes a strategically layered risk management approach based on the potential impact of non-compliance in order to better focus on those areas of importing which may cause significant revenue loss, harm to the U.S. economy, or threaten the health and safety of the American people.

Priority Trade Issues

Customs publicizes a list of Priority Trade Issues (PTIs) which is reviewed and updated periodically. Currently, the following issues are ones that customs considers to be high-risk:

  • Anti-dumping duty
  • Countervailing duty
  • Import Safety
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Textiles
  • Trade Agreements

While this list by no means restricts customs from conducting audits on transactions that fall outside of these categories, it does provide a general idea of where their primary focus presently resides.

In determining the likelihood of your firm undergoing a U.S. Customs audit, there are all sorts of other considerations which come to bear and may include:

  • Total value and/or volume of your imports
  • Variety and chapters of H.S. classification
  • Special classes of entry, such as Temporary Importation Bonds (TIB), or U.S. Goods Returned (USGR)
  • Related party transactions
  • Your firm’s internal controls, compliance policies and record keeping practices
  • Prior audit history
  • Prior penalty history

We consider that there is a clear foundation on which the adequacy and accuracy of your customs declarations stand. These include tariff classification, country of origin, and valuation. Most importers are aware of the importance of ensuring that their tariff classification is declared correctly, and they know that they must declare the proper country of manufacture of the goods, and that those goods are required to be marked with the country of origin prior to import. Valuation, however, can definitely be a trip hazard to unwary or uninformed importers. This article speaks directly to that matter.

As an Importer of Record (IOR), whether a resident of the United States or a non-resident, it is your explicit responsibility to act with reasonable care. CBP’s reasonable care standards are clearly defined, and more information can be obtained on that subject referenced in this paper.

Transaction Value (TV) is the most usual valuation methodology, and used appropriately, does fit the most frequent type of transactions. Transaction value or TV can be defined as “the price paid or payable for the merchandise.” There are a number of possible influences that may prohibit declaring TV on your imports, including:

  • Related transactions may not be eligible, depending on a number of factors
  • Leased or loaned equipment is not eligible for TV
  • Sample or “no-charge” transactions
  • Consignment shipments
  • Assists that the buyer provides to the seller must be taken into consideration
  • Other additions, such as packing, commissions, royalties, transportation must all be added to the “price paid or payable” for the merchandise

These are simply a few of the matters that must be considered when you are determining the value declared to customs.

Additional Resources

Informed Compliance Publications available on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website include a number of excellent publications. We suggest the following:

  • Reasonable Care
  • Bona Fide Sales & Sales for Exportation to the United States
  • Customs Value
  • Customs Value Encyclopedia
  • Determining the Acceptability of Transaction Value for Related Party Transactions
  • Proper Deductions for Freight and Other Costs

Customs Audit Assistance Services

If you have reason to believe that your valuation declarations may have the potential to raise flags during a customs audit, please give us a call to discuss this further. We have the expertise to guide your company through the audit process.

Preparing for a Customs Audit

To learn more and gain insight on the customs audit process, consider attending an upcoming seminar. For a session that will guide you through the maze of regulations that determine transaction value attend our upcoming Customs Valuation Seminar. If you are importing and exporting goods into the United States, you will also find our U.S. Trade Compliance Seminar of interest.

If you wish to know more about this important topic or wish to share your experiences please leave your questions or concerns in the comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

Have You Received an Informed Compliance Letter from U.S. Customs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an apparent effort to increase enforcement activities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been issuing Informed Compliance Notification (ICN) letters to a variety of importers lately with a subject line, “Distribution of Informed Compliance Publications and Other Informative Documents.” They may particularly be targeting importers whom they have identified as having specific high-risk imports OR non-compliance issues with customs regulations, and are thus quite susceptible to undergoing a comprehensive regulatory audit. The letters are being sent accompanied with a DVD that contains a number of Informed Compliance Publications (ICP). These very valuable and informative ICPs can also be found here on CBP’s website.

You are encouraged to review those that pertain to your import activities, and most particularly those regarding entry requirements, valuation, tariff classification and country of origin.

While we have yet to be made aware of our clients having received such letters, we would like to alert you to be on the watch for any correspondence that your firm may receive from CBP, and strongly urge you to contact us immediately. Please be reminded that CBP is allowed to conduct full audits on your importing activities into the U.S. whether or not you are a U.S. domiciled company.

CBP has stated that these ICNs are generally intended to encourage importers to conduct internal reviews of their importing practices, and to file prior disclosures in cases where there are discrepancies or deficiencies discovered.

Important: Prior to communicating with U.S. Customs directly we emphasize the importance of contacting us first and as soon as possible after receiving any correspondence from CBP. As your customs broker, we are generally copied in on most correspondence from CBP to our clients; however, we do not anticipate being notified of this particular outreach unless we hear directly from you.

Pacific Customs Brokers stands ready to assist and guide you on all customs matters, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Have you received an Informed Compliance Notification recently or in the past? Did you wait, respond immediately or contact your customs broker first? Share your experience in the comments section below or email Ask Your Broker. However, if you have received a letter recently, call us immediately.

ACE Transition – Changes to FDA Entry Filing

Update

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now completed its transition to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). As a result, all goods regulated by the FDA must be transmitted via ACE effective June 15, 2016 and will no longer be accepted in the previous Automated Commercial System (ACS). Additional information is now required when filing entries and corresponding entry summaries for FDA regulated goods.

What additional information will be mandatory?

  • Commodity details and intended use
  • Description of how the commodity is processed
  • Product state (i.e. fresh, frozen, shelf stable, etc.)
  • FDA product code
  • Country of production or source
  • Full and detailed invoice description
  • Full name and address of the:
    • Manufacturer
    • Shipper
    • Importer
    • Consignee
    • Consolidator
    • Farmer/grower (if applicable)
    • Processing plant (if applicable)
  • FDA registration number(s)
  • Port of entry
  • Quantity
  • Weights (actual, rather than estimated)
  • Packaging type
  • Product line value
  • Arrival date and time

Certain commodities may require additional information. Please contact Pacific Customs Brokers for additional details.

How will this affect my entry?

Pacific Customs Brokers may contact importers to obtain any mandatory information required for the entry filing with ACE and FDA.

As CBP and FDA implement this mandatory filing requirement entry filing delays are to be expected. It is imperative to note that missing information will result in additional processing delays.

Have questions or comments regarding the potential processing delays you may experience? Have tips for minimizing shipment delays? Share your thoughts with us. Leave them in the comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.