SEMA News - September 2009

By Annie Kang


Regulation Changes the Way Businesses Import Goods


Starting on January 26, 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce a new policy requiring importers to provide 10 pieces of data (with an additional two for shipping companies).

The process of importing products into the U.S. has changed for good. In a webinar entitled “10+2=New Filing Requirements for All Companies Importing Products to the U.S. Now in Effect,” presenter Richard Di Nucci, director of the Secure Freight Initiative for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), details the new Importer Security Filing (ISF), commonly known as the 10+2 Initiative, which will directly affect all businesses that import products into the U.S.

The ISF requires all importers to supply 10 pieces of data (and shipping companies with another two items), marking the first time that importers are required to communicate with CBP regarding incoming shipments.

The new regulation was put into effect on January 9, 2009, but a “flexible enforcement period” has been granted until January 26, 2010. An additional 12-month delayed compliance period may also be extended if circumstances warrant. During the existing grace period, CBP will monitor all ISF submissions for timeliness, accuracy and completeness and will work with any non-complying ISF filer in order to help them adhere to the new requirements.

“During the relaxed enforcement phase, until January of 2010, there is no penalty,” said Di Nucci regarding errors that an importer might make in supplying the newly required data. “You don’t need perfection for the next six months. We get to 2010—different matter. Now we are in enforce mode, and you need to make sure you’ve corrected whatever errors have occurred in the past. But you have six months to do that. For now, all you have to do is make sure that you correct it and resubmit it, and we’re fine.”

New Importer Requirements

U.S.-bound cargo requires the electronic filing of an ISF comprised of the following 10 data elements:

1. Importer of record number
2. Consignee number
3. Seller (owner) name/address
4. Buyer (owner) name/address
5. Ship-to party
6. Manufacturer (supplier) name/address
7. Country of origin
8. Commodity HTS-6
9. Container Stuffing Location
10. Consolidator (stuffer) name/address

Transit cargo requires the electronic filing of an ISF comprised of the following five data elements:

1. Booking party name/address
2. Ship-to party
3. Commodity HTS-6
4. Foreign port of unlading
5. Place of delivery

Additional Carrier Requirements

For arriving vessels with containers, the following is required:

1. Vessel stow plan

For containers arriving via vessel, the following is required:

2. Container status messages (CSM) data

Flexibilities for Six Elements

CBP has added flexibility for four ISF elements as to the interpretation of the data:

1. Manufacturer (supplier) name/address
2. Ship-to party
3. Country of origin
4. Commodity HTSUS number

These elements are still required 24 hours prior to vessel lading. Importers, in their initial filing, will be permitted to provide a range of acceptable responses based on facts available at the time, in lieu of a single specific response. Importers will be required to update their filings as soon as more precise or more accurate information is available.

In addition, CBP has added flexibility for two ISF elements in terms of timing and provision of the data:

5. Container Stuffing Location
6. Consolidator (stuffer) name/address

The ISF Importer must file this data as soon as possible, but no later than 24 hours prior to U.S. arrival.

All ISF filings are to be done electronically via vessel Automated Manifest System (AMS) or the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). There is no paper form equivalent nor is CBP creating an Internet-based web portal to accept the ISF filings. However, some service providers allow self-filers indirect access to CBP systems.

The party required to submit the ISF is the party causing the goods to enter the limits of a port in the U.S. This party is known as the “ISF Importer” and could be the owner, purchaser, consignee or agent (e.g. customs broker). For foreign cargo remaining on board, this party is the vessel operating carrier. The party filing the immediate exportation, transportation and exportation or foreign trade zone documentation is the ISF Importer for those types of shipments.

“I think the point to stress is that you as the importer of record are responsible for the filing,” said Di Nucci. “It is your shipment. It is your data and we need to get as much advanced data as we can possibly get.”

To ensure that your business is not caught unaware of the new ISF requirements, review the full presentation by accessing an audio or PDF download of the webinar. For more information, contact Linda Spencer.



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