IMPORTER SECURITY FILING
 
There are several ways that ensure that you will be compliant with the new Importer Security Filing requirement.  It is the importer’s responsibility to obtain the required ISF data elements and ensure U.S. Customs receives them 24 hours before the vessel is loaded at port of origin.  We are ready to help. Here ’s how :
 
Option 1- You or your supplier submit complete shipment documents that contain the necessary information elements to us 72 hours before vessel loading via e-mail isf@rlswearer.com or fax 412-269-1997. Your RLS account manager will use the information on the documents to ensure the ISF is made 24 hours prior to the vessel loading.
 
Option 2- You or your supplier must complete the ISF Filing information Form and submit 72 hours prior to vessel loading. The ISF team will use the information on the form and in our customer database to complete the filing.
 
Option 3- Route your shipment via R.L. Swearer. Our worldwide network of agents will ensure that the required information is submitted to us on a timely basis. 
 
We understand that foreign companies have been requesting EIN/Federal Tax ID numbers from US importers in order to ‘comply’ with the regulation. Please note that if we are filing your ISF that you are NOT required to provide this information to any party.
 
Contact your Account Manager for further details on how to make sure your supply chain is ready to handle this new requirement.
 
 
Common Questions about ISF
 
What is 10+2/Importer Security Filing?
 
10+2 was the ‘working title’ of a proposed rule for the implementation of a new security program required by the Safe Port Act of 2006. The proposed rule requires 10 data elements from importers, and 2 more from carriers (hence 10+2). The program is designed to enhance CBP’s ability to identify high-risk shipments by asking importers to provide advance information on all ocean freight shipments. The ‘final rule’ for 10+2, now known as the Importer Security Filing (ISF) has been published, which means that, with exceptions, CBP will not invite further comments from the public on the program. There are some changes from the initial ‘proposed’ rule, but the essential information requirement remains.
 
 
When does the Importer Security Filing (ISF) go into effect?
 
The rule goes into effect 60 days after the publication date (January 26, 2009). A significant change from the ‘proposed rule’ is that CBP is offering a delayed compliance period where they will show ‘restraint’ in enforcing the rule, and will take into account difficulties that importers may face in complying with the rule.  Importers, however, must make a good faith effort and satisfactory progress toward compliance.
 
Full enforcement will take effect January 26, 2010. This interim periodmaybe extended at customs discretion. 
 
 
What data is required by CBP on the ISF? 
 
The importer or their designated agent is responsible for the first 10 data elements. The carrier is responsible for the "+2" data elements. The timeframes to submit the importer data elements are as follows:
 
No later than 24 hours before cargo is laden aboard the vessel at the foreign port:
  1. Seller
  2. Buyer
  3. Importer of record number/ FTZ applicant ID number
  4. Consignee number
  5. ++Manufacturer (or supplier)
  6. ++Shipe to party
  7. ++Country of origin
  8. ++HTS Number
 
As early as possible but no later than 24 hours prior to arrival:
  1.  Container stuffing location
  2. Consolidator (stuffer)
 
**Break bulk cargo** - 24 hours prior to arrival if cargo is exempt from the 24 Hour Rule.
 
For ++items, submit the best available information. The rule provides flexibility for importers with respect to the submission of four of these data elements. In lieu of a single specific response, importers may submit a range of responses for each of the following data elements: manufacturer (or supplier), ship to party, country of origin, and commodity HTSUS number. The ISF must be updated as soon as more accurate or precise data becomes available and no later than 24 hours prior to the ship's arrival at a U.S. port.
 
 
How will CBP identify the shipment? 
 
The ‘house’ bill of lading number will be used as an identifier to tie the ISF to the manifest filing and to the Customs entry. This is a must, and can almost be considered an “11th” data element.  Master bills of lading and container numbers are ‘optional’.
 
 
Who must file the ISF? 
 
The ISF must be filed by or on behalf of the ‘ISF Importer’. The ‘ISF Importer’ is defined as the owner, purchaser, or consignee, An agent, such as a Licensed Customs broker may file the ISF on behalf of the Importer, but the ISF Importer is ultimately liable for the timely, accurate, and complete submission of the Importer Security Filing. If you do use a 3 rd party they must have a Power of Attorney from the Importer and use either AMS or ABI to file.
 
 
What happens if an importer does not comply? 
 
CBP will enforce the Importer Security Filing, vessel stow plan, and container status message requirements through the assessment of liquidated damages, in addition to penalties applicable under other provisions of law. Customs may assess liquidated damages ‘up to’ $5000.00 for violations, such as failure to submit ISF timely, accurately, or completely. (This is a big change from the proposed rule which proposed liquidated damages equal to the value of the shipment).
 
 
Are there other requirements? 
 
The ISF Importer will be required to post a bond to secure the timely, accurate, and complete Importer Security Filing. If you already have a continuous entry bond, this will be sufficient. If you do not have a continuous entry bond, please contact your R.L. Swearer account manager. CBP has also created a ‘new’ bond, the ‘Importer Security Filing Bond’.
 
 
Is it possible that the program will be changed?
 
Yes, changes are possible read below from the CBP website:
The Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements interim final rule has been submitted to the Federal Register and will take effect 60 days after publication. CBP invites written comment on the six data elements for which some type of flexibility has been provided, and on the revised Regulatory Assessment and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. Comments must be received on or before June 1, 2009, which marks the end of the information gathering phase of the structured review.
Based on the information obtained during the structured review and public comment periods, CBP will conduct an analysis of the elements subject to flexibility. The analysis will examine compliance costs for various industry segments, the impact of the flexibilities, the barriers to submitting the data 24 hours prior to lading, and the benefits of collecting the data. Based upon the analysis, DHS will determine whether to eliminate, modify or maintain these requirements.
 
 
What can I do to get ready? Won’t my shipments be delayed? 
 
The most important consideration is how to get the data from your supplier in a timely manner so it can be forwarded for submission. Use the next few weeks to develop procedures for your suppliers and their agents. If you use RLS to route your shipments your information burden will be considerably eased as we can obtain this information directly via our agents.
 
Important: You will need to have commercial invoices and the bill of lading number prior to loading at the foreign port. These documents can be submitted to RLS for assignment of HTS numbers. You want to be sure your vendors are getting you the information at least 48-72 hours prior to vessel loading so we will have time to do the data input. Customs says to expect an additional 2-3 days in your supply chain for the first year.
 
 
Will R.L. Swearer be ready to file my ISF? 
 
Yes, providing that you have the information required, R.L. Swearer will be ready to file ISF’s on January 26th, 2009. The information may be supplied to RLS via web portal, e-mail, fax or other communication medium. RLS will then process this information and file the ISF. Look for future announcements on the implementation of ISF.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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