The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) welcomed release by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of its long-awaited Frequently Asked Questions on the Importer and Carrier Security Filing. Commonly known as 10+2, this regulation requires both importers and carriers to submit additional information pertaining to cargo to CBP before the cargo is brought into the United States by vessel.

“CBP’s release of the FAQs on the importer security filing is an important development for the implementation of the new program,’ said NCBFAA Customs Counsel Alan Klestadt. ‘NCBFAA members have been working diligently with both CBP and their importer clients to develop strategies to implement the new filing requirement. The additional clarity provided by the FAQ’s will greatly facilitate this effort.”

Most of the information simply clarifies what is known; however, the surety bond Q&As do address many outstanding issues, for example:

  • An ISF bond will not be required until January 26, 2010.
  • If an agent submits the ISF on its own bond, the agent agrees to have its bond charged if there are breaches of obligations regarding filing. However, the ISF importer remains ultimately liable for complete, accurate, and timely filing.
  • Single Entry Bonds will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The FAQ further outlines that CBP is in discussions with trade groups regarding the process of utilizing single entry bonds and defining the limit of liability. The NCBFAA is currently participating in discussions with CBP on this matter.
  • Types 1 (basic importation), 2 (custodial), 3 (international carrier), and 4 (foreign trade zone) continuous bonds may be accepted for both the entry summary and the ISF filing, and is required for the combined ISF and Entry Summary filing. Conversely, two bonds may be accepted, one for the ISF and another for the entry summary filing in every circumstance except the unified filing.
  • The limit of liability of the bonds will not change with this rulemaking, and bond riders will not be required.
  • There are no exceptions to the bond requirement, and as such informal entries will require an ISF bond at the time of filing after January 26, 2010.

“The clarification in the FAQ’s that there would not be a bond requirement during the phase in period removes one of the great uncertainties surrounding the program.’ Counsel Klestadt noted. ‘Resolution of the bond issues is a critical aspect of the program since it involves significant issues of commercial liability. Permitting ISF filings in the initial stages without a bond requirement will enable our members to move forward and work through the other implementation issues without having to address liquidated damages and surety related issues at the same time. The NCBFAA will continue to work with CBP and other industry members on the bond implementation and process guidelines.”

Automation issues that also affect NCBFAA members and were addressed in the FAQs include the following:

  • There is currently no query function in either AMS, ABI, or ACE to determine ISF filing status.
  • Amendment to the ISF is required if information changes prior to the arrival of the freight in the US, but is not restricted after that date.
  • An ISF must contain a Bill of Lading number, as it is integral to matching the AMS manifest filing, the ISF, and the entry.
  • The CBP Client Representatives are the primary contacts for questions or issues regarding the filing.
  • The Security Filing transaction number will not be required to be transmitted in the entry summary.
  • The unified filing process is not available for shipments traveling in bond for entry purposes.

Other general and enforcement issues of interest to NCBFAA members include:

  • An importer must notify CBP if goods are sold in transit, and must update the Buyer (Owner) field and any other field of which they are aware of an change in information.