Friday, June 10, 2011

CBP Finalizes Harmonized Data Set for Automated Commercial Environment

On June 9, 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the final Participating Government Agencies (PGA) Message Set for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). ACE is the U.S. commercial trade processing system designed to (i) automate border processing, (ii) enhance border security, (iii) expedite international trade and (iv) provide a platform for information sharing between industry and government. The PGA Message Set is a harmonized set of information needed by federal agencies to allow imported cargo to enter the country.

According to the ACE 101 Publication dated June 2011, 26 PGAs currently use ACE. The June 9th press release did not specifically name the final PGAs. We submitted an inquiry to CBP and will report the list of final PGAs once we receive confirmation from CBP. However, according to the International Trade Data Service, the following are examples of the federal agencies slated for ACE integration:

• Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the Department of Agriculture
• International Trade Administration-Import Administration (ITA) of the Department of Commerce
• Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health and Human Services
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Department of Interior

According to Cindy Allen, Executive Director of the ACE Business Office, “The PGA Message Set will expedite legitimate trade by providing a single window through which the trade community can efficiently supply required data electronically through the Automated Commercial Environment.” She also touted the progress made on ACE, since its inception, during the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) Annual Conference in New York on June 6th. For example, CBP introduced a link from the ACE Portal to the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Portal for importers, brokers, carriers and surety accounts. CPB has established approximately 20,000 ACE portal accounts since June 2003.

Currently, data is submitted manually to PGAs through paper forms, rather than electronically or automatically. The submission of paper to an agency is obviously labor intensive and less efficient in time and money than submitting information electronically. Once the technology is completed, likely at the end of 2011, information that is now provided only to CBP will also be provided electronically to PGAs. The PGA Message Set is expected to streamline data submission.

General information about ACE, can be found at

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