Automating customs

US CBP takes next step in customs system migration

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has moved forward with its Automated Commercial Environment, an electronic system designed to serve as a single window for cross-border trade.

The single window is supposed to make imports into the United States simpler – that’s the promise made by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  

Just in time for the new year, CBP has announced a major step forward in the deployment of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), which replaces the obsolete Automated Commercial System as the single window for all foreign trade activities. 

Deployment G, Release 3B was made available to brokers and importers on January 6. Effective immediately, all statements required for imports can now be submitted through ACE – except for reconciliation statements, which will be covered by Release 4 on February 24. As part of this, the Merchandise Processing Fee for imports is going up.

>> More about ACE and automated systems on CBP website   

Difficulties in the deployment phase 

Deployment of the full Release 3 had been delayed by half a year after ACE experienced significant performance problems. ACE is a mammoth project that is still work in progress – especially when it comes to integration with other US authorities. 

The integration includes not only economic operators who import and export but also other US Partner Government Agencies, many of whom have so far had access only to a pilot program. Once the deployment is complete, all import- and export-related transactions should be administered through the single window. 

MPF to be adjusted for inflation 

CBP already raised the Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF), which is assessed on all imports, effective January 1. The MPF is now set at 0.3464% of the import value of goods (not including freight costs, insurance, and customs duties), with a minimum of $25.67 and a maximum of $497.99. The increase was not initiated by the Trump administration. Since 2015, the MPF has been adjusted to keep up with the rate of inflation once it exceeds 1 percent.

Automated Export Filing for traders

Automated Import Filing for traders