U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, today indicated that it has not forgotten that there are two elements to "secure trade" – security and trade. Based on constructive comments from traders, importers and manufacturers, CBP announced significant changes to its January 2008 proposal to require advanced security filings for imports entering the U.S. through maritime ports. The "interim final rule" (IFR) will be published as soon as tomorrow in the Federal Register.

In a nutshell, CBP has made several key concessions to ensure that security concerns do not trump the need to get the merchandise to the customer.

  • CBP will provide for some flexibility in reporting, allowing a range of responses until importers know for sure what and how much is on the way;
  • During the 12-month period following publication of the IFR, CBP will take a cooperative approach to compliance and enforcement, realizing that even importers who are trying to do their best may still encounter difficulties in meeting the requirements;
  • CBP will monitor how importers of all shapes and sizes can manage to file the 10 information elements on time and will accept public comments until June 1.

Click here to see the DHS announcement, which contains a link to the interim final rule.


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