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APHIS CORE Still Expected in August

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released CSMS #41839060 notifying the trade community that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced the next steps for implementing the APHIS ‘Core Message Set’ in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

This message refers to the USDA website which states that, beginning in August of 2020, APHIS will activate ‘Core Message Set’ flags in ACE. Importers and brokers will be required to submit electronic customs entries that include APHIS-regulated plants, plant products, animal products, or live dog imports.  This data set is dictated by the ‘APHIS Core Message Set’ which provides for APHIS-required import data for those items.  This phase does not include other live animal imports.

CBP and USDA hope that this will troubleshoot any issues before they cause delays at the port of entry, resulting in fewer holds and faster release times because the agencies can focus resources on shipments that pose a higher risk of introducing pests or diseases.

Willson International has been preparing for this release for the past two years through research and changes to our electronic platforms of shipment transmission. We hope to see platform changes in the coming weeks so the transition period can be as smooth as possible.

Additionally, we have been advising clients to attend the NCBFAA’s Regulatory Agencies Committee (RAC) webinar series that have concluded.  A successful transition to the electronic transmission will be a thorough understanding of these changes by all stakeholders involved.

APHIS has flagged more than 2,000 HTS subheadings that may contain APHIS-regulated products.  This means that even if your company does not import articles of an agricultural nature, your products may be flagged.  If that is the case, you may be contacted for approval to disclaim that requirement at the time of entry.

If you would like additional information or copies of the webinars, please contact our U.S. Regulatory Team at and we will be happy to assist.

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COVID-19 is a global challenge. Keeping our supply chains moving is important for maintaining the health and wellbeing of citizens and businesses. While the Canada - U.S. border is now closed to non-essential traffic, it is still open for trade and commerce. We are committed to doing our part for global supply chains.

We are protecting the health and safety of our employees. They are working from home, except for critical functions that require certain equipment or managing paper/courier flow. In those cases we are following social distancing guidelines.

We are open and available to assist you, and key players in your supply chains. Our dedicated staff are available 24/7 and our brokerage and logistics experts are available to help you make adjustments to your supply chain, if necessary.

We encourage you to check out the government programs available to families, businesses, exporters and importers. And, while respecting the need for social distancing we encourage everyone, including our staff, to reach out and remain connected to family, friends, colleagues and customers.

Stay safe.

Peter Willson
Chairman & CEO
Willson International

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