Jan 4, 2017
AMS streamlines import process for specialty crops

The Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) participation in the government-wide International Trade Data System (ITDS) is expanding from a three-port pilot program to a nationwide pilot, which is accepting filings at all U.S. ports of entry. All agricultural commodity importers are now able to submit required documentation electronically into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

The coordinated pilot is expected to operate into the new year while importers gain familiarity with the system and AMS finalizes regulations connected to the new filing procedures. Interested parties can contact AMS at 202-720-2491 for answers to specific questions.

Multiple agencies now receive electronic messages from the ACE on products entering the United States.  As a result, the appropriate Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service office has the necessary product variety, packaging and other information when the applicant contacts them to schedule an inspection.

The ACE is the primary system through which importers enter data previously required on paper versions of CBP’s Summary Forms (CBP-7501) and Immediate Delivery Forms (CBP-3461).  AMS is using the automatically-transmitted messages from the submissions to prepare for inspecting certain fruits, vegetables and related commodities when contacted by the inspection applicant.

Having the information readily available helps AMS more quickly determine whether products fall under its authority or if they are exempt from inspection. AMS performs inspections on 14 commodities entering the United States, per section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act.  The shared system also facilitates a faster message to CBP on whether the imported product can be released into commerce, according to AMS.

The ACE is the portal into the ITDS “Single Window” concept. President Obama signed an Executive Order in February 2014, directing all federal agencies to work together to streamline the import process for America’s businesses. This Executive Order required government-wide use of the system by Dec. 31, 2016.

More information about the ACE is available at www.cbp.gov/trade/automated/getting-started.

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