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The CBP Tweak Every Importer Needs to Know

In a bid to keep illicit goods from entering the U.S., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now wants more information from importers about the provenance of their China-made goods.

CBP will deploy the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Region Alert enhancement to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) on March 18. This will require importers to provide a verified Chinese postal code for the origin of their goods as a part of the ACE validation process. Users will receive a warning message if the postal code they provide falls under the Uyghur Autonomous Region, and an error message if the postal code provided is invalid.

According to CBP, the ACE enhancement will provide importers and their representative of goods, such as a 3PL partner, with an early alert that goods they are attempting to import may have been produced in the Xinjiang region and could be subject to withholding or rejection when they arrive in the U.S. Importers will be asked to provide the postal code information when filling out cargo release applications for goods manufactured in China, or when creating or updating a manufacturer identification code located within the country. Importers who receive a warning message during this process can request an exception when items are detained, seized or excluded from entry to the U.S.

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Signed into law in December 2021, the UFLPA was implemented in June of last year. It created a “rebuttable presumption” that any goods made or mined in the Xinjiang region should be prohibited from entry into the U.S. on the basis that they could have been created using forced labor. CBP has been updating the ACE portal with document upload and management capabilities, cross-account access and blanket declarations capabilities since the portal was deployed in October. This spring, ACE will unveil an automated process for admissibility reviews and exception requests.

As the government agency rolls out enforcement measures for the UFLPA, CBP has also tasked customs brokers with doing their part to stop the flow of illegal goods. In December, changes to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) expanded a broker’s responsibility to maintain contact and document a relationship with its client, the importer. The law was designed to ensure that the Importer of Record provides its broker with accurate and up-to-date information about shipments being cleared through customs.