[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 217 (Wednesday, November 9, 2011)]
[Pages 69755-69758]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-29055]



U.S. Customs and Border Protection

National Customs Automation Program Test Concerning Automated 
Commercial Environment (ACE) Simplified Entry

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland 

ACTION: General notice.


SUMMARY: This document announces U.S. Customs and Border Protection's 
(CBP's) plan to conduct a National Customs Automation Program (NCAP) 
test concerning Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) entry 
capability. This new capability will include functionality specific to 
the filing of entry data for formal and informal consumption entries. 
This functionality will simplify the entry process by allowing 
participants to submit 12 required and three (3) optional data elements 
to CBP at any time prior to the arrival of the merchandise on the 
conveyance transporting the cargo to the United States. This data will 
fulfill merchandise entry requirements and will allow for earlier 
release decisions and more certainty for the importer in determining 
the logistics of cargo delivery. This initial phase of the test will be 
open to entries filed in the air transportation mode only. This notice 
invites parties to participate in the test, seeks public comment 
concerning any aspect of the planned test, describes the eligibility 
requirements for participation in the test, and outlines the 
development and evaluation methodology to be used in the test. This 
notice will be referred to as the Simplified Entry Notice.

DATES: Communication to CBP indicating interest in participation in 
this planned test is requested within five (5) business days from 
November 9, 2011. Comments may be submitted to the Web site indicated 
in the ``Addresses'' section below at any time throughout the test. The 
initial phase of the test will begin on or about December 31, 2011 and 
will run for approximately two years. CBP will begin an evaluation of 
the initial phase of the test after the test has been ongoing for 
approximately 90 days for purposes of possible extension or expansion.

ADDRESSES: Comments concerning this notice and indication of interest 
in participation in Simplified Entry should be submitted via email to 
[email protected]. For a comment, please indicate 

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Entry Federal Register Notice'' in the subject line of your email.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For policy related questions, contact 
Steve Hilsen, Trade Policy and Programs, Office of International Trade, 
at [email protected]. For technical questions, contact Susan 
Maskell, Client Representative Branch, ACE Business Office, Office of 
International Trade, at [email protected].



    The National Customs Automation Program (NCAP) was established in 
Subtitle B of Title VI--Customs Modernization, in the North American 
Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 
2057, 2170, December 8, 1993) (Customs Modernization Act). See 19 
U.S.C. 1411. Through NCAP, the initial thrust of customs modernization 
was on trade compliance and the development of the Automated Commercial 
Environment (ACE), the planned successor to the Automated Commercial 
System (ACS). ACE is an automated and electronic system for commercial 
trade processing which is intended to streamline business processes, 
facilitate growth in trade, ensure cargo security, and foster 
participation in global commerce, while ensuring compliance with U.S. 
laws and regulations and reducing costs for U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection (CBP) and all of its communities of interest. The ability to 
meet these objectives depends on successfully modernizing CBP's 
business functions and the information technology that supports those 
functions. CBP's modernization efforts are accomplished through phased 
releases of ACE component functionality designed to replace a specific 
legacy ACS function. Each release will begin with a test and will end 
with mandatory compliance with the new ACE feature, thus retiring the 
legacy ACS function. Each release builds on previous releases and sets 
the foundation for subsequent releases.
    Through the NCAP process, CBP is testing the ACE Entry Summary, 
Accounts and Revenue (ESAR) capabilities. See the General Notice 
published August 26, 2008 (73 FR 50337) for more information. These new 
capabilities include functionality specific to the filing and 
processing of entry summaries for formal consumption entries and 
informal entries. These capabilities serve to assist the importer in 
completion of entry as required by the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 
    In addition, CBP is conducting an NCAP test concerning the 
transmission of required advance ocean and rail data through the 
Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). See the General Notice 
published October 20, 2010 (75 FR 64737) for more information.
    In order to provide the link between the transmission of manifest 
data and the completion of entry summary functionality, CBP is now 
initiating a test to automate the merchandise entry and release process 
required prior to the filing of entry summaries. Most commonly, entry 
information is submitted to CBP electronically through the Automated 
Broker Interface (ABI) with the submission of the electronic equivalent 
of the CBP Form 3461 (see 19 U.S.C. 1484(a)(1)(A), 19 CFR 141.61, 
Subpart D to 19 CFR part 143, 19 CFR 142.3, and 19 CFR 142.4.) Entry 
may be filed prior to the arrival of merchandise in the United States 
in line with current filing requirements. CBP also allows entry and 
entry summary information to be filed with the Importer Security Filing 
that is required of all cargo arriving by vessel (see 19 CFR 149.6.) In 
all instances where entry information is filed prior to merchandise 
arrival, the merchandise is not authorized for release until it has 
arrived within the port limits with the intent to unlade (see 19 CFR 
    The current CBP Form 3461 contains 27 data elements. In an effort 
to simplify the merchandise release process, allow for more streamlined 
electronic transmission for the filing broker, stand alone filer, and/
or importer, and assist importers in finalizing cargo movement 
logistics, CBP is announcing this test to reduce the number of data 
elements required to obtain release of products to 12 for cargo 
transported by air. The filer may provide three other optional data 
elements that will be described below. The entry information required 
by this test will be in lieu of filing of the CBP Form 3461 or its 
electronic equivalent. The test will involve the transmission and 
acceptance of the data by CBP and the return of status messages 
concerning the shipment to the filer.

Authorization for the Test

    The Customs Modernization provisions in the North American Free 
Trade Agreement Implementation Act provide the Commissioner of CBP with 
authority to conduct limited test programs or procedures designed to 
evaluate planned components of the NCAP. This test is authorized 
pursuant to Sec.  101.9(b) of the CBP Regulations (19 CFR 101.9(b)) 
which provides for the testing of NCAP programs or procedures. See 
Treasury Decision (T.D.) 95-21.

Implementation of the Test Concerning Simplified Entry

In General

    This document announces CBP's plan to conduct a new test concerning 
entry filing via a process known as Simplified Entry.
    This filing is considered customs business for purposes of 19 
U.S.C. 1641. The party filing Simplified Entry Data must have the right 
to make entry as provided in 19 U.S.C. 1484. Accordingly, only the 
importer or customs broker acting on the importer's behalf may submit 
this filing. This will not change as the test is rolled out.
    Filing of Simplified Entry Data is in lieu of filing a CBP Form 
3461 or its electronic equivalent. It is not in lieu of filing an entry 
summary as both an entry and entry summary as permitted by 19 CFR 
142.19. All entry summaries resulting from Simplified Entry Data 
release must be made in ACE.

Initial Test Phase Rules

    For the initial test phase the following rules apply:
    The initial test is for entries filed in the air transportation 
    The Simplified Entry filing will only be allowed for Type 01 and 
Type 11 consumption entries. Participants cannot file an entry summary 
in lieu of the simplified entry.
    No formal entry filed under Simplified Entry can be released under 
a single transaction bond. A continuous bond must be used.
    The filing of entries on split shipments or unassembled or 
disassembled entities will not be supported in the initial phase of the 
    The port of arrival and the port of entry and unlading must be the 
same for any Simplified Entry filed.
    The manifested bill of lading quantity count and the release bill 
of lading quantity count covered by the Simplified Entry must match.
    Once CBP sends a release message, participants cannot send another 
simplified entry to replace or amend the one previously filed.

Data Elements To Be Filed

    In lieu of filing CBP Form 3461 data, the importer or broker acting 
on behalf of the importer must file the following 12 data elements (to 
be known as the Simplified Entry Data Set or Simplified Entry Data) 
with CBP:
    (1) Importer of Record Number.
    (2) Buyer name and address.
    (3) Buyer Employer Identification Number (consignee number).

[[Page 69757]]

    (4) Seller name and address.
    (5) Manufacturer/supplier name and address.
    (6) HTS 10-digit number.
    (7) Country of origin.
    (8) Bill of lading/house air waybill number.
    (9) Bill of lading issuer code.
    (10) Entry number.
    (11) Entry type.
    (12) Estimated shipment value.
    In the air environment in the initial test phase, the entry filer, 
at his option, may also provide the additional three (3) data elements:
    (13) Ship to party name and address (optional).
    (14) Consolidator name and address (optional).
    (15) Container stuffing location (optional).
    Data element (1) and data elements (6) through (12) are defined in 
the same manner as when they are used for entry filing on the CBP Form 
3461. Data elements (2) through (5) and (13) through (15) are defined 
in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 149.3.
    The Simplified Entry Data Set may be filed at any time prior to the 
arrival of the cargo in the United States port of arrival with the 
intent to unlade.


    Upon receipt of the Simplified Entry Data, CBP will make all 
decisions with regard to release of the merchandise and will transmit 
its cargo release decision to the filer. Releases will be made at the 
house bill level. The merchandise will then be considered to be entered 
upon its arrival in the port with the intent to unlade, as provided by 
current 19 CFR 141.68(e).

Admissibility Determinations by Other Government Agencies

    For this first phase of the test, Simplified Entry Data will only 
be accepted for entries that do not fall under the admissibility 
jurisdiction of Other Government Agencies (OGAs).

Eligibility Requirements

    Importer self-filers and customs brokers seeking to participate in 
and benefit from Simplified Entry functionality available in this test 
must have an ACE Portal Account and either be able to file ACE entry 
summaries or have evinced the intent to file entry summaries in ACE.
    Parties seeking to participate in this test must use a software 
package that has completed ABI certification testing for ACE and offers 
the simplified entry message set prior to transmitting data under the 
test. See the General Notice of August 26, 2008 (73 FR 50337) for a 
complete discussion on procedures for obtaining an ACE Portal Account. 
Importers not self filing must be sure their broker has the capability 
to file entry summaries in ACE.
    Importers seeking to participate must hold a Tier 2 status or 
higher in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). 
Brokers seeking to participate must be C-TPAT certified. For more 
information on C-TPAT see: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/cargo_security/ctpat/what_ctpat/ctpat_overview.xml.

Test Participant Selection Criteria

    CBP will limit the initial pilot of this test to nine (9) accounts. 
CBP reserves the right to raise this limit on the number of 
participants during the initial stages of the test should testing 
capabilities allow.
    Specifically, CBP is looking for test participants to include at 
     1 or more Importer self-filers.
     1 or more Brokers.
    Any importers for whom brokers file Simplified Entries must meet 
the C-TPAT Tier 2 criteria or higher.
    When submitting a request to participate, a party should include 
information regarding estimated volume of entries anticipated to be 
filed under Simplified Entry and the identity of the ports where 
filings are likely to occur. CBP will use this information to determine 
resource requirements necessary to support the initial phase of the 
    Importer participants will be selected based upon entry filing 
volume and diversity of industries represented, giving consideration to 
the order in which participation requests are received.
    Broker participants will be selected based upon entry filing 
volume, client diversity, and ports served, also with consideration 
given to the order in which participation requests are received.

Test Restrictions and Duration

    The initial stages of the test will include only entries 
originating in the air environment. Land border arrivals, both truck 
and rail, and vessel ocean arrivals will be included in later stages of 
the test.
    The initial phase of the test will begin on or about December 31, 
2011, and will run for approximately two years. After the pilot begins, 
an evaluation will take place for purposes of extension or expansion of 
the test to other modes of transportation.

Regulatory Provisions Affected

    Regulations that conflict with the terms and conditions of this 
test, namely regulations contained in parts 141, 142, and 143, 
including section 142.3, are suspended and overridden to the extent of 
the conflict for the duration of this test for those participants in 
this test and only to the extent of their participation in this test.

Future Expansion of the Test

    Any future expansion in ACE including but not limited to any new 
Simplified Entry Data, the timing of submission of the data, or 
messaging between filers and CBP, will be announced via a separate 
Federal Register notice.


    All data submitted and entered into the ACE Portal is subject to 
the Trade Secrets Act (18 U.S.C. 1905) and is considered confidential, 
except to the extent as otherwise provided by law. As stated in 
previous notices, participation in this or any of the previous ACE 
tests is not confidential and upon a written Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) request, a name(s) of an approved participant(s) will be 
disclosed by CBP in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552.

Application Process

    Any party seeking to participate must submit an email to 
[email protected] with the subject heading ``Simplified 
Entry Participant Request''. All emails must be received within five 
(5) business days of the date of publication of this Notice.


    If a test participant fails to abide by the rules, procedures, or 
term and conditions of this and all other applicable Federal Register 
Notices, fails to exercise reasonable care in the execution of 
participant obligations, or otherwise fails to comply with all 
applicable laws and regulations, then the participant may be suspended 
from participation in this test and/or subjected to penalties, 
liquidated damages, and/or other administrative or judicial sanction. 
Additionally, CBP has the right to suspend a test participant based on 
a determination that an unacceptable compliance risk exists. Such 
proposed suspension will apprise the participant of the facts or 
conduct warranting suspension. Any decision proposing suspension may be 
appealed in writing to the Assistant Commissioner (Office of 
International Trade) within 15 days of the decision date. Should the 
participant appeal the notice of proposed suspension, the participant 
should address the facts or conduct charges contained in the notice and 
state how the participant has or will

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achieve compliance. However, in the case of willfulness or where public 
health interests are concerned, the suspension may be effective 

Test Evaluation Criteria

    All interested parties are invited to comment on any aspect of this 
test at any time. To ensure adequate feedback, participants are 
required to take part in an evaluation of this test. CBP needs comments 
and feedback on all aspects of this test, including the design, conduct 
and implementation of the test, in order to determine whether to 
modify, alter, expand, limit, continue, end or implement this program 
by regulation. The final results of the evaluation will be published in 
the Federal Register and the Customs Bulletin as required by section 
101.9 of the CBP regulations.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    As noted above, CBP will be accepting only nine participants in the 
NCAP test. This means that fewer than ten persons will be subject to 
any information collections under the NCAP test. Accordingly, 
collections of information encompassed within this notice are exempted 
from the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3502 and 3507).

    Dated: November 2, 2011.
Allen Gina,
Assistant Commissioner, Office of International Trade.
[FR Doc. 2011-29055 Filed 11-8-11; 8:45 am]