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CBP's Quota Certificate System to Get Update

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recently announced that in September its Electronic Certification System will transition to an updated version (eCERT 2.0) that will become the sole method for participating in the eCERT process.

eCERT is a CBP platform that uses electronic transmissions of information associated with a required export document, such as a license or certificate, to facilitate the administration of quotas and ensure proper restraint levels are charged without being exceeded.

Foreign countries who currently participate in eCERT transmit information directly, or via a global network service provider, to CBP's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). The Importer of record (or an authorized customs broker) then utilizes these specific data elements to file an entry summary. The entered data elements must match eCERT data from the foreign country before an importer may claim any applicable in-quota rate of duty or the preferential duty rate under a tariff preference level.

Currently, a few countries are approved for the use of eCERT for transmitting export certificates. Australia, Uruguay, New Zealand, and Argentina are currently approved and have been utilizing the program for certain beef entries subject to TRQ. Additionally, Mexico is approved for the use of eCERT for the transmission of certificates pertaining to certain textile and apparel goods that are eligible for preferential treatment under a TPL.

CBP has announced the new update in eCERT 2.0 will include three new features that will implement additional validations that verify the authorized use of quota certificates:

  1. The decrementing of quota certificates to prevent them from being overused;

  2. Enhanced querying capabilities for participating countries to query and track actual certificate usage, and;

  3. the ability for importers to query their usage of quota certificates via the Automated Broker Interface.

To participate in eCERT 2.0 importers must provide the participating country with the importer or record number in advance of filing an entry. The participating country, in turn, must submit the IOR number as an additional data element within the transmission for eCERT 2.0.

Since the implementation of the update of eCERT2.0 is subject to start September 25 it is highly suggested that importers share their Importer of Record (IOR) number in advance with the participating country to allow for testing with the updated system with actual IOR numbers and avoid rejection of the transmission due to missing IOR numbers once eCERT 2.0 is deployed.

In general, CBP has advised that importers will need to provide the IOR numbers to the participating country no later than 30 days in advance of filing an entry. CBP notes that the transition of eCERT 2.0 will not change the TRQ or TPL filing process or requirements. Importers will continue to provide the export certificate or certificate of eligibility numbers from the participating countries in the same manner as when currently filing entry summaries. In addition, the format of the export certificate and certificate of eligibility numbers will remain the same for the corresponding eCERT transmissions.

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