U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) constantly updates the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and other government systems to improve functionalities and deploy new features. However, keeping up with these changes can be challenging, particularly for importer self-filers and companies still using legacy applications. Third party ACE customs entry software is one solution.
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The Automated Broker Interface (ABI) is the primary system for the government and importers/brokers to exchange information about inbound shipments. Currently, the majority of entries (over 96 percent) are filed via ABI in ACE. ABI allows entry and entry summary filers to eliminate paper entry summaries, receive faster responses from CBP, and reduce costs associated with managing, storing and transporting paper documents.
ABI supports simplified entries and cargo release, electronic amendments and cancellations, Partner Government Agency (PGA) messaging and document image system (DIS). Cargo release is streamlined and improved in ABI, allowing CBP to better flag and address potential risks earlies in the supply chain. In addition, CBP can make risk assessment decisions and send detailed messages earlier.
CBP has simplified the entry summary and cargo release process in ABI ACE by reducing the number of required data elements and eliminating redundant information already provided by trade partners. For businesses, ABI in ACE means reduced transaction and data filing costs, reduced exceptions that require special processing post-arrival, and better predictability that allows importers to arrange for the movement of cargo before arrival.
Importer self-filers and customs brokers who use ACE ABI software can monitor compliance, bonds, liquidations, HTS numbers, trade preference programs and monthly statement activity, as well as identify unauthorized entry filers, cash flow forecasts and end of the month unpaid duties.
ACE ABI also supports the following functionalities:
· Analytics using data only available to ACE entry summary filers in the ACE Secure Data Portal
· Improved anti-dumping duty/countervailing duty (AD/CVD) queries
· Electronic census overrides from ACE
· Enhanced reporting
· More information than the legacy ACS entry summary query. ACE ABI software helps users find information much more quickly.
· Electronic transmission of Post Summary Corrections (PSCs) allows filing of corrections up to 270 days after the date of the entry. Filing too many corrections, whether in ABI or through paper, may lead to increased CBP scrutiny and audits. To reduce the number of PSCs, filers should minimize errors before submission. Processes should be in place to define the responsibilities of brokers and staff for reviewing information before filing, to train parties that commit the same errors and to automate audits.
· eBond. Electronic bonds eliminate the need to submit paper documents when a Single Transaction Bond (STB) is used for cargo release. eBonds means less paper processing and centralized management of customs bonds.
· In-Bond. Electronic in-bond requests filed in ABI links directly to ACE.
· Duty drawbacks. Importers and brokers can file drawback claims in ABI to get a refund of certain duties, taxes and fees. Duty drawbacks in ABI helps and maximize revenue and speed up refund processing.
· PGA participation in ACE ABI is critical for trade participants, particularly in regulated industries such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals. PGA support allows filers to speed up response times and improve data accuracy by submitting documentation only once.
· Remote Location Filing (RLF) for file type 03 entry summaries
ACE Portal Functions
It is a common misunderstanding that customs entries can be filed directly in ACE using a Portal account. This is not true; ABI is the only approved method for filing entry and entry summaries. CBP made an announcement back in 2014 to clarify that the ACE Secure Data Portal does not support entry and entry summary filing capabilities, nor are there plans to build these capabilities. What filers CAN do in the ACE Portal is to:
· Receive and respond to CBP forms
· Create blanket declarations used in entry summary transactions
· Upload documents
· View status notifications
· View historical data
· Run ACE reports
Filers can obtain ACE customs entry software through a CBP-approved service provider, a service center or by purchasing/developing ABI ACE software. Importer self-filers should ensure that the ABI software provider or service center they choose offers connectivity to ACE, as ACE has replaced the legacy ACS as the system of record.
Before choosing an ACE customs entry software vendor, consider the features that come with the application. Besides the basics that already exist in ABI, it’s great to have accounting and integration options, more accurate HS classification and valuation, flexible technology that can grow with your needs and security support. Compare fully-customized ABI software with an out-of-the-box solution. Full customization and integration generally costs more than software-as-a-service models.
If you plan to hire a customs broker to handle entry and entry summary filing, make sure they are fully automated. Regardless of the size of the company, look for automation and full connectivity to CBP systems, web portals and shipment tracking websites.
Besides functionality, clients should evaluate ABI software vendors on customer satisfaction and industry experience. A software vendor that takes the time to get to know your business can provide a better solution than someone who cares only about pitching their products.
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a world leader in trade facilitation, with decades of experience helping clients optimize compliance and streamline customs processing. GeTS is CBP-approved and has successfully completed systems testing to ensure secure, fast and accurate data exchange. GeTS ACE ABI solution enables customs brokers, importers, carriers, and authorized agents to file required import data with customs.
The GeTS online ABI service allows filers to submit entries and entry summaries via an online application. With a computer and Internet connection, clients can file electronic entries from anywhere in the world. Files are submitted directly to CBP via ACE. Online ABI features highly secure connectivity with high availability for corporate accounts.
The web-based service is convenient for on-the-go filing, and pricing plans are flexible to meet every business need. Online ABI is ideal for small and midsize businesses or anyone who needs streamlined but cost-effective entry/entry summary processing.
GeTS ACE ABI can be integrated into existing systems like ERP for seamless filing. Data can stream from multiple sources to a single transaction, with support for partial data transfer to a web portal account to complete the electronic submission. The integrated application also supports multiple submission protocols: FTP, sFTP, SMTP AS2 and Web Services.
For those who are unable to file on their own, GeTS can submit entries and entry summaries on your behalf. Simply send the information to us via fax or email, and we will take care of everything. CBP status notifications and messages will be sent to you by email or SMS. You can also track submissions online via the ACE Portal account. Customer support and expert assistance on customs compliance are available 24/7.
Visit our ACE Customs Entry Software page today to learn more and get your 30-day free trial.