Industry News

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The NCBFAA ISF Committee had a recent call with CBP about the ISF enforcement that will go into effect on July 9, 2013.  We have highlighted a number of answers to several questions we asked.  There are still a few unanswered questions that CBP is reviewing for the committee and we will share those once we have the replies from CBP.


·         Importer Security Filing enforcement begins on July 9, 2013.  ISF’s filed on or after that day, must be complete, timely and accurate. 

·         For practical purposes, CBP will measure timeliness from 24 hours prior to the ship’s departure.

·         CBP has no message about the timeliness of the ISF.   The ISF filing and acceptance are in the ISF history when a filer transmits and receives the acceptance. 

·         An ISF is not an entry and does not liquidate. There is no closing of an ISF transaction.  The statutory limitation for liquidated damages is 6 years.

·         For ISF’s using a single transaction bond, the liquidation of the entry does not close the ISF.

·         An ISF that is timely filed, but does not immediately match the manifest is not in violation.  The filer must correct the information on the ISF to match the carrier manifest before the arrival of the vessel to avoid liquidated damages.  CBP will still send out non-match warnings as they do now.

·         CBP has informally told the trade that they will take a measured approach and focus the highest priority on negligent importers that have not filed and on importers that had been filing and then stopped.  However all violations are subject to enforcement and CBP could issue penalties where they think it is necessary.

·         All potential ISF liquidated damages cases will be sent to CBP Headquarters for review.  This will be in effect for at least the first 12 months.

·         CBP will most probably not issue a claim for shipments that are a little bit late or missed by an importer that has consistently been compliant.   PAST PERFORMANCE will be a part of the review and a good record will count.

·         CBP will not allow an entry if an ISF has not been filed.  (Remember the term “ISF Jail”?).

·         CBP will watch for abuse of the use of an ISF without a bond for commercial shipments.

·         A deleted ISF is not a non-file.  There may be legitimate reasons to delete an ISF and replace it.

·         There could be multiple reasons for liquidated damages penalties on a particular ISF.  However, CBP has set a cap of a maximum of $10,000.00 against any one ISF. 

·         There will be no comparison between the ISF and the entry.  The ISF is for targeting.  If there are differences between the manifest and the ISF or if there is an exam that shows that the ISF was incorrect, then the ISF could be subject to liquidated damages.

·         CBP will not generally consider small generic discrepancies as a violation of accuracy, for example shirts vs. blouses.

·         CBP will take systematic problems into consideration in reviewing the cases.


CBP has the expectation that importers must be 100% compliant.  If not 100% compliant, importers could be exposed to liquidated damages cases.

US-Korea FTA In Effect

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement went into effect today (3/15/2012), making many products imported from Korea to the U.S., or made in the U.S. for export to Korea, duty free. 

2 arrests, fake iPhones seized in LA Port probe


ISF Enforcement Update

US Customs has started to enforce ISF issues with exams.  If ISF has not been filed, then an X-Ray exam will most likely occur once the shipment reaches the ports.  If an incorrect AMS BL # is transmitted, and the vessel departs, US Customs will relay an electronic message that the AMS BL # is not on file, and consequently, an Enforcement Hold will be placed.

Contact us for details on how to avoid delays and additional exam/storage charges.



L.A. Port Screens Ship For Biological Weapons


Chinese Man Gets Prison For Counterfeit Exports


Customs Says Weevil Found At LAX In Basil Shipment


Confidentiality of Vessel Manifest Information -- Must be Requested Every Two Years

Confidentiality of Vessel Manifest Information  --  Must be Requested Every Two Years

19 CFR 103.31 allows importers, consignees, and shippers to file certifications for confidential treatment for certain inward and outward vessel manifest information, such as importer and/or shipper names and addresses.

Information Covered by Confidential Certification May Not Be Published by the Press or Included on CDs Sold to the Public

Although 19 CFR 103.31 allows accredited representatives of the press, including newspapers, commercial magazines, trade journals, and similar publications, to examine, copy, and publish certain vessel manifest and summary statistical information on imports and exports, any information covered by a confidential certification may only be examined and copied by the press; it cannot be published. In addition, information covered by a confidential certification will not be included on the CD-ROMS of Automated Manifest System (AMS) data that are sold to the public.

Certification for Confidential Treatment for Inward or Outward Manifests

With respect to inward vessel manifests, 19 CFR 103.31 provides that an importer or consignee (or their authorized employee, attorney, or official) may submit a certification for confidential treatment of:

1.     The importer or consignee names and addresses (including marks and numbers which reveal these names and addresses); and

2.      The names and addresses of all of the shippers to such importer or consignee.

For information appearing on the outward manifest, 19 CFR 103.31 allows a shipper (or their authorized employee or official) to submit a certification for confidential treatment of the shipper's name and address.

Certifications Valid for Two Years Only, No Prescribed Format for Certification

Both initial and renewal certifications are valid for a period of two years only. Renewal certifications should be submitted to the Disclosure Law Officer at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the current certification (see below for address).

According to 19 CFR 103.31, there is no prescribed format for a certification; however, the certification shall include the importer's/consignee's/shipper's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Employer Number, if available.

CBP sources have previously stated that one certification can be filed to request confidentiality for both inward and outward manifest information.

According to 19 CFR 103.31, the address to which certifications must be submitted is: Disclosure Law Officer, Headquarters, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20229.

Company and Shipper Names Should be Identified in All Known Variations

CBP sources have previously noted that in order to ensure that requested information is deleted from public disclosure, the importer or consignee should ensure that the company’s name and shipper’s name is identified to CBP in all known variations that may be used on shipping documentation such as bills of lading, purchase orders and manifests.

Air, Truck, and Rail Manifest Information Remains Confidential

The Anticounterfeiting Consumer Protection Act of 1996 (ACPA) (Public Law 104-153) contains a provision which mandates the public disclosure of air manifest information under the same terms currently allowed for ocean vessel shipments. 

However, CBP sources have confirmed that air manifest information currently remains confidential. CBP sources have previously stated that CBP had not initiated a rulemaking to implement the disclosure of air manifest information as required by the ACPA because the ACPA contained a great deal of ambiguity which sources stated would likely require correction/clarification by Congress.  

In addition, CBP sources have stated that that the courts have ruled that truck and rail manifest information is confidential and consequently may not be disclosed.

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