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“2016: Expect Increasing Customs Complexity”

An interview with Angela Collins, VP Operations

Complexity - Willson International Customs Brokerage

Angela, why is customs becoming more complex?

 There are 4 imminent changes, all of which are digital. It is not surprising that the World Customs Organization is calling 2016 the year of digital customs. So my main message today is: Get informed. Partner closely with experts. Knowledge provides a competitive advantage.

What are the changes?

 Below is a brief explanation of all four. Willson International will publish a more detailed review of each change over the next six weeks. Watch for it! 

  1. Single Window (SWI)

 What is it?   Traders will now be able to transmit all information electronically to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and to the Customs Border Patrol (CBP) in the US. In turn, the CBSA and CBP will send the information to the government department or agency that is responsible for regulating the goods. These departments will provide any decisions that are required.

 Why?  Canada and the US are seeking to reduce the administrative burden on industry. SWI will streamline and simplify the import process and reduce the paper burden.

 Who?  CBSA and CBP will align as much as possible with each other, and with the World Customs Organization. It is important to note that SWI is the Canadian part of the Canadian-US agreement “Beyond the Border Action Plan.” In the US the SWI is part of “International Trade Data System.” The ITDS mission is to assist partner government agencies (PGA) in identifying, documenting and executing their plans.  ITDS will achieve this through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), which is designed to improve business operations.

 How?  Carriers submit the information in advance, and will be required to receive an “accepted” message one hour in advance of arrival; one half an hour for FAST carriers. Upon arrival at the border your carrier will provide an ACE manifest cover sheet including the trip and associated cargo control numbers.  

  1. ACE (Automated Commercial Environment)-US

What is it? ACE is the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Single Window initiative. By the end of 2016 ACE will become the Single Window for core trade processing and cargo related functionality. ACE will link importers and exporters to CBP and other Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).

 When? ACE entry filing is mandatory as of February 28, 2016, however the transition period for entry filing started as of November 1, 2015.  ACE replaces Customs and Border Protections aging ACS (Automated Commercial System) infrastructure. While the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be mandatory as of February, other PGAs will come onboard by July 2016. 

  1. E-manifest

 What is it?  The CBSA has made submission of cargo and conveyance details through E-manifest mandatory.  When fully implemented, all carriers, forwarders, and importers will send advance commercial information about their shipments electronically to the CBSA.

Why? It will make the border process faster and safer, as well as make the process more compatible with the US and international standards. It was designed to facilitate compliance for small and medium enterprises.  

  1. ARL (Accounts Receivable Ledger)

What is it?  ARL is the first part of CARM (CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management), a multi-year project to transform how import revenue and trade information is assessed, collected, and reported.

It will result in the replacement of the daily and monthly K84s with Daily Notices (DNs) and Statements of Accounts (SOAs).

 Why?  It will replace aging, non-integrated revenue and cash management systems.

 How?  It will replace current systems and provide new electronic payment options, improved management of accounts receivables, and enhanced daily notices.

 When?  ARL will implemented in January 25, 2016, while CARM will implemented in phases by 2020.

 What exactly must companies do?    Importers and Exporters who intend to use the Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Documents (ECCRD) can adopt one of three formats: EDIFACT, CADEX, and XML.

 Are there any implications for customs brokers?

Investment. Brokers must make continuous and significant investments in training and technology to meet requirements for the changing regulations, while continuing to meet the needs for customs compliance, security and efficiency.                

If readers need more information immediately what should they do?

This doesn’t have to be complicated.

A good broker can make this process easy.

 Call our service department at


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Complicated - Simple - Willson International

“2016: Expect Increasing Customs Complexity”