Archive for the ‘US Customs’ Category


Video: The Importance of Complying with U.S. Customs Regulations

Licensed Customs Broker and Certified Customs Specialist, April Collier, walks importers through the importance of complying with U.S. Customs regulations and what they can do to assure they are meeting all of the requirements governing the movement of commercial goods



As customs brokers, we make every effort to provide the trade community with the right tools and information to ensure that your company is as proactive as possible with the CBSA and CBP. As part of our ongoing efforts, we offer a number of  Trade Compliance Seminars and Webinars throughout the year on compliance and customs audit among other subjects. Our upcoming U.S. Customs Audit Seminar might be of particular interest. This seminar will focus on the differences between voluntary and enforced compliance, the expectation of “reasonable care”, the potential cost risks of non-compliance, and best practices. For more details on this seminar and registration visit – U.S. Customs Audit Seminar.

Whether you are just starting out or have an existing business, our experienced trade compliance specialists can assist you. To learn how Pacific Customs Brokers’ customs trade compliance and customs audit consulting can help your business; speak with one of our trade compliance specialists today.


Is your company trade compliant? Do you have questions about complying with U.S. Customs regulations? Drop us a comment or question below or email  Ask Your Broker.

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Video: Importing U.S. Goods Returning

Goods manufactured in the United States that have been previously exported and are now returning require a formal declaration called American Goods Returned (AGR) also referred to as U.S. made goods returned (USGR).

In this video, Aimee Miller, explains when an American Good Returned is eligible for duty-free treatment and the documents that are required.



Do you have questions about U.S. Goods Returning? Drop us a comment or question below or email  Ask Your Broker.


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New Food Safety Regulations That Will Dominate 2014

Stamp: Safe FoodThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a number of new rules during 2013.  Some of these are in the “public comment” period at this time, with conclusions happening during the first and second quarters of 2014.  From there, the FDA will submit final language to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and publication in the Federal Register, and these are expected to become final within 90 days of issuance.

While there are many proposed rules, guidance documents and reports that are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), we list here a few of the primary issues that we believe importers and exporters need to ensure all parties within your supply chain are complying with, rules expected to be in place or in play during 2014.

  1. Sanitary transportation rule for both human and animal food – This will affect shippers, carriers, receivers and other parties involved in food transportation.

Learn more: Sanitation and Transportation Guidance Documents and Regulatory Information

  1. Written food safety plan, which incorporates proof that you are following the plan, to include hazards analysis, preventive controls, monitoring, corrective actions, verifications and record-keeping.

Learn more: FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food

  1. Foreign supplier verification program – Importers will be required to have a program to verify that the food products they are importing are safe, which includes verifying that their suppliers are in compliance with reasonably appropriate risk-based preventive controls.

Learn more: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act – General Information on Imports

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. Take advantage of our upcoming webinar on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulated Goods on May 8, 2014 and refresh your knowledge in the importation of FDA regulated goods.

Do you have questions about these FSMA regulations? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.


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The Importance of an Ironclad Record Keeping System

In today’s compliance driven world, where U.S. Customs is enforcing rules more than ever and issuing penalties, importers are left wondering how to best utilize their resources to remain compliant. One of the most effective ways to ensure doing business in a compliant fashion is to create a solid “ironclad” record keeping system.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of requirements for record keeping and as a result importers are often left with many questions:

  • Who is responsible for keeping records?
  • Isn’t my customs broker responsible for keeping my records?
  • How long do the records have to be maintained?
  • Do the records have to be kept on my premises?
  • What are the liabilities for improper record keeping?


The term “records” in the language of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is defined in the Customs regulations under Part 163.

Part 163 defines the term “records” to mean any information made or normally kept in the ordinary course of business which pertains to the following activities:

  • any importation, declaration or entry;
  • the transportation or storage of merchandise carried or held under bond into or from the Customs territory of the United States;
  • the filing of a drawback claim;
  • the completion and signature of a NAFTA export Certificate of Origin pursuant to Part 181;
  • the collection and payment of fees and taxes to CPB; and
  • any other activity required to be undertaken pursuant to laws or regulations administered by CBP.

“Records” include any information required for the entry; this includes but is not limited to:

  • statements, declarations, documents;
  • electronically generated or machine readable data;
  • electronically stored or transmitted information or data;
  • books, papers, correspondence;
  • accounts, financial accounting data;
  • technical data; and
  • computer programs necessary to retrieve information in a usable form.

Who exactly is responsible for record keeping?

Any owner, importer of record, consignee, customs broker or any other party that:

  • imports merchandise into the United States;
  • files a drawback claim;
  • transports or stores product that is transported or held under bond;
  • an agent or customs broker of any person referenced above; or
  • a person whose activities require the filing of a declaration or entry, or both.

Additional record keeping requirements exist for:

  • any party who completes and signs a Certificate of Origin for goods exported to Canada or Mexico pursuant to NAFTA
  • customs brokers
  • Importer Security Filings

Are there any exceptions to the rules?

Exceptions to record keeping requirements can include:

  • Any traveler that makes a baggage or oral declaration upon arrival into the United States is not required to keep records regarding non-commercial merchandise acquired abroad;
  • A person that orders merchandise from an importer which knowingly causes the products to be imported , but does not:
    • furnish technical data, molds, equipment; other production assistance, material, components, or parts with knowledge that the goods will be used for further manufacturing of the imported merchandise or;
    • controls the terms and condition of importation.

How long is the responsible party obligated to keep the records?

Records that importers are required to keep under Part 163 must be kept for 5 years from the date of entry. There are of course exceptions to that rule. Below is a list of documents that have a different time limit requirement:

  • drawback claim records – 3 years
  • packing lists – 60 calendar days
  • a consignee who is not the owner and who appoints a U.S. customs broker must keep all records that pertain to the merchandise covered by an informal entry – 2 years
  • NAFTA certificate and all supporting documents pertaining to that certificate – 5 years (from the date of signature on the certificate)
  • ISF records – 6 years (from the date of export)

Do original documents need to be maintained?  

Yes. Original records must be kept unless the record keeper has adopted an alternative storage method.  The record keeper must maintain the original records whether on paper or electronically. Visit 163.5 Methods for storage of records for more information.

Certain records must be kept in their original format for a limited time or may not be alternatively stored at all even if proper alternative storage methods have been approved:

  • with the exception of packing lists, entry records must be maintained in their original format for a period of 120 calendar days from the end of the release or conditional release period.   If re-delivery has been requested for a period of 120 calendar days from the date the goods are re-delivered or from the date specified in the demand as the latest re-delivery date;
  • records required by other federal agencies are subject to the same record keeping requirements

Customs records that are kept in original format or under an approved alternative method of storage must be capable of being retrieved upon request by Customs.

What are the liabilities?

Consequences can be severe if the proper records are not retained.

  • willful failure to maintain, store or retrieve a demanded record, U.S. Customs can issue an administrative penalty for each release of merchandise, not to exceed $100,000 or an amount equal to 75% of the appraised value of the merchandise, whichever is less; or
  • negligent failure to maintain, store or retrieve a demanded record, U.S. Customs may issue an administrative penalty for each release of merchandise, not to exceed $10,000 or an amount equal to 40% of the appraised value of the merchandise, whichever is less.

Record keeping is a shared responsibility between all parties involved in Customs transactions. Just because you hire a third party to process your clearances does not absolve you from record keeping requirements. Reviewing your current record keeping procedures today and making sure you have a strong record retention program in place will save you from potential sanctions and penalties against your organization.

Remember, importing is a privilege you cannot afford to lose.

Mandatory AES Filing for Used Vehicles Exported to Canada Effective April 5th


Update April 4, 2014: The U.S. Census Bureau in concurrence with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agrees to provide an additional 180 days to come into compliance with the new export reporting requirements. During this 180 day period the Census Bureau and CBP will use “informed compliance” to educate the trade on the new requirements. During this time, no penalties will be issued for failure to comply with any new requirements found in the March 14, 2013 rule. Penalties may be issued for violations of regulations that remain unchanged from the FTR published on June 2, 2008. The period of informed compliance will take place from the revised FTR effective date of April 5, 2014 through October 2, 2014.

Read more: AES Informed Compliance Period Announced


On March 14, 2013, the United States Census Bureau published a final rule amending its regulations to require new export reporting requirements. Previously scheduled to take effect on January 8, 2014, the FTR final rule published on March 14, 2013, will now be effective April 5, 2014.

Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget has approved the collection of two new data elements (license value and ultimate consignee type) in the Automated Export System (AES) under control number 0607-0152.

New Requirements for used self-propelled vehicles:

Some of the new requirements for used self-propelled vehicles include:

  1. The vehicle must be filed in the AES regardless of value or country of destination
  2. The vehicle must be filed 72 hours prior to export

What is the Automated Export System (AES)?

The Automated Export System (AES) is a computer system that collects Electronic Export Information (EEI). The AES is the primary instrument used for collecting export trade data, which is used by the United States Census Bureau  for statistical purposes only and by other federal government agencies for purposes of enforcing U.S. export laws and regulations.

What is considered a self-propelled vehicle?

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), self-propelled vehicles as includes any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motorcycle, motor home, self-propelled agricultural machinery, self-propelled construction equipment, self-propelled special use equipment, and any other self-propelled vehicle used or designed for running on land but not rail.

Impact on importers and exporters:

As of April 5, 2014, the current AES exemption for used self-propelled vehicles destined for Canada will no longer be valid. Thereby requiring mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) and accompanying electronic information submitted to CBP 72 hours before the vehicle’s arrival at the border. Non-compliance with this mandatory AES filing may result in very severe penalties, enforced by CBP, on behalf of the Census Bureau.


If you have questions regarding these new changes to the FTR final rule or for more information regarding the key changes, please contact our customs and trade experts. Additionally, Pacific Customs Brokers can handle these filings on your behalf. Contact us to learn how we will help you meet your AES obligations.

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