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Customs Automation
This law is a part of the Customs Modernization Act, commonly known as the Mod Act, that was enacted as Title VI of the implementing legislation for NAFTA (Public Law 103-182 of 1993). It has been amended several times since then, and the consolidated version shown here is as codified in Chapter 4 of Title 19 of the U.S. Code, alongside the rest of the Tariff Act of 1930.

 

 


See also the full text of the NAFTA implementing legislation (large PDF file), including the Customs Modernization Act, and the CENTRAL guide to Trade Laws of the United States.

 

 

 


§1411. National Customs Automation Program

(a) Establishment

The Secretary shall establish the National Customs Automation Program (hereinafter in this subpart referred to as the “Program”) which shall be an automated and electronic system for processing commercial importations and shall include the following existing and planned components:

(1) Existing components:

(A) The electronic entry of merchandise.

(B) The electronic entry summary of required information.

(C) The electronic transmission of invoice information.

(D) The electronic transmission of manifest information.

(E) Electronic payments of duties, fees, and taxes.

(F) The electronic status of liquidation and reliquidation.

(G) The electronic selection of high risk entries for examination (cargo selectivity and entry summary selectivity).

(2) Planned components:

(A) The electronic filing and status of protests.

(B) The electronic filing (including remote filing under section 1414 of this title) of entry information with the Customs Service at any location.

(C) The electronic filing of import activity summary statements and reconciliation.

(D) The electronic filing of bonds.

(E) The electronic penalty process.

(F) The electronic filing of drawback claims, records, or entries.

(G) Any other component initiated by the Customs Service to carry out the goals of this subpart.

(b) Participation in Program

The Secretary shall by regulation prescribe the eligibility criteria for participation in the Program. The Secretary may, by regulation, require the electronic submission of information described in subsection (a) of this section or any other information required to be submitted to the Customs Service separately pursuant to this subpart.

(c) Foreign-trade zones

Not later than January 1, 2000, the Secretary shall provide for the inclusion of commercial importation data from foreign-trade zones under the Program.

(d) International Trade Data System

(1) Establishment

(A) In general

The Secretary of the Treasury (in this subsection, referred to as the “Secretary”) shall oversee the establishment of an electronic trade data interchange system to be known as the “International Trade Data System” (ITDS). The ITDS shall be implemented not later than the date that the Automated Commercial Environment (commonly referred to as “ACE”) is fully implemented.

(B) Purpose

The purpose of the ITDS is to eliminate redundant information requirements, to efficiently regulate the flow of commerce, and to effectively enforce laws and regulations relating to international trade, by establishing a single portal system, operated by the United States Customs and Border Protection, for the collection and distribution of standard electronic import and export data required by all participating Federal agencies.

(C) Participation

(i) In general

All Federal agencies that require documentation for clearing or licensing the importation and exportation of cargo shall participate in the ITDS.

(ii) Waiver

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget may waive, in whole or in part, the requirement for participation for any Federal agency based on the vital national interest of the United States.

(D) Consultation

The Secretary shall consult with and assist the United States Customs and Border Protection and other agencies in the transition from paper to electronic format for the submission, issuance, and storage of documents relating to data required to enter cargo into the United States. In so doing, the Secretary shall also consult with private sector stakeholders, including the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee, in developing uniform data submission requirements, procedures, and schedules, for the ITDS.

(E) Coordination

The Secretary shall be responsible for coordinating the operation of the ITDS among the participating agencies and the office within the United States Customs and Border Protection that is responsible for maintaining the ITDS.

(2) Data elements

(A) In general

The Interagency Steering Committee (established under paragraph (3)) shall, in consultation with the agencies participating in the ITDS, define the standard set of data elements to be collected, stored, and shared in the ITDS, consistent with laws applicable to the collection and protection of import and export information. The Interagency Steering Committee shall periodically review the data elements in order to update the standard set of data elements, as necessary.

(B) Commitments and obligations

The Interagency Steering Committee shall ensure that the ITDS data requirements are compatible with the commitments and obligations of the United States as a member of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the entry and movement of cargo.

(3) Interagency Steering Committee

There is established an Interagency Steering Committee (in this section, referred to as the “Committee”). The members of the Committee shall include the Secretary (who shall serve as the chairperson of the Committee), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the head of each agency participating in the ITDS. The Committee shall assist the Secretary in overseeing the implementation of, and participation in, the ITDS.

(4) Report

The President shall submit a report before the end of each fiscal year to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives. Each report shall include information on—

(A) the status of the ITDS implementation;

(B) the extent of participation in the ITDS by Federal agencies;

(C) the remaining barriers to any agency's participation;

(D) the consistency of the ITDS with applicable standards established by the World Customs Organization and the World Trade Organization;

(E) recommendations for technological and other improvements to the ITDS; and

(F) the status of the development, implementation, and management of the Automated Commercial Environment within the United States Customs and Border Protection.

(5) Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that agency participation in the ITDS is an important priority of the Federal Government and that the Secretary shall coordinate the operation of the ITDS closely among the participating agencies and the office within the United States Customs and Border Protection that is responsible for maintaining the ITDS.

(6) Construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed as amending or modifying subsection (g) of section 301 of title 13.

(7) Definition

The term “Commercial Operations Advisory Committee” means the Advisory Committee established pursuant to section 9503(c) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (19 U.S.C. 2071 note) or any successor committee.

 

§1412. Program goals

The goals of the Program are to ensure that all regulations and rulings that are administered or enforced by the Customs Service are administered and enforced in a manner that—

(1) is uniform and consistent;

(2) is as minimally intrusive upon the normal flow of business activity as practicable; and

(3) improves compliance.

 

§1413. Implementation and evaluation of Program

(a) Overall Program plan

(1) In general

Before the 180th day after December 8, 1993, the Secretary shall develop and transmit to the Committees an overall plan for the Program. The overall Program plan shall set forth—

(A) a general description of the ultimate configuration of the Program;

(B) a description of each of the existing components of the Program listed in section 1411(a)(1) of this title; and

(C) estimates regarding the stages on which planned components of the Program listed in section 1411(a)(2) of this title will be brought on-line.

(2) Additional information

In addition to the information required under paragraph (1), the overall Program plan shall include a statement regarding—

(A) the extent to which the existing components of the Program currently meet, and the planned components will meet, the Program goals set forth in section 1412 of this title; and

(B) the effects that the existing components are currently having, and the effects that the planned components will likely have, on—

(i) importers, brokers, and other users of the Program, and

(ii) Customs Service occupations, operations, processes, and systems.

(b) Implementation plan, testing, and evaluation

(1) Implementation plan

For each of the planned components of the Program listed in section 1411(a)(2) of this title, the Secretary shall—

(A) develop an implementation plan;

(B) test the component in order to assess its viability;

(C) evaluate the component in order to assess its contribution toward achieving the program goals; and

(D) transmit to the Committees the implementation plan, the testing results, and an evaluation report.

In developing an implementation plan under subparagraph (A) and evaluating components under subparagraph (C), the Secretary shall publish a request for comments in the Customs Bulletin and shall consult with the trade community, including importers, brokers, shippers, and other affected parties.

(2) Implementation

(A) The Secretary may implement on a permanent basis any Program component referred to in paragraph (1) on or after the date which is 30 days after paragraph (1)(D) is complied with.

(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), the 30 days shall be computed by excluding—

(i) the days either House is not in session because of an adjournment of more than 3 days to a day certain or an adjournment of the Congress sine die, and

(ii) any Saturday and Sunday, not excluded under clause (i), when either House is not in session.

(3) Evaluation and report

The Secretary shall—

(A) develop a user satisfaction survey of parties participating in the Program;

(B) evaluate the results of the user satisfaction survey on a biennial basis (fiscal years) and transmit a report to the Committees on the evaluation by no later than the 90th day after the close of each 2d fiscal year;

(C) with respect to the existing Program component listed in section 1411(a)(1)(G) of this title transmit to the Committees—

(i) a written evaluation of such component before the 180th day after December 8, 1993, and before the implementation of the planned Program components listed in section 1411(a)(2)(B) and (C) of this title, and

(ii) a report on such component for each of the 3 full fiscal years occurring after December 8, 1993, which report shall be transmitted not later than the 90th day after the close of each such year; and

(D) not later than the 90th day after the close of fiscal year 1994, and annually thereafter through fiscal year 2000, transmit to the Committees a written evaluation with respect to the implementation and effect on users of each of the planned Program components listed in section 1411(a)(2) of this title.

In carrying out the provisions of this paragraph, the Secretary shall publish requests for comments in the Customs Bulletin and shall consult with the trade community, including importers, brokers, shippers, and other affected parties.

(c) Committees

For purposes of this section, the term “Committees” means the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate.

 

§1414. Remote location filing

(a) Core entry information

(1) In general

A Program participant may file electronically an entry of merchandise with the Customs Service from a location other than the district designated in the entry for examination (hereafter in this section referred to as a “remote location”) if—

(A) the Customs Service is satisfied that the participant has the capabilities referred to in paragraph (2)(A) regarding such method of filing; and

(B) the participant elects to file from the remote location.

(2) Requirements

(A) In general

In order to qualify for filing from a remote location, a Program participant must have the capability to provide, on an entry-by-entry basis, for the following:

(i) The electronic entry of merchandise.

(ii) The electronic entry summary of required information.

(iii) The electronic transmission of invoice information (when required by the Customs Service).

(iv) The electronic payment of duties, fees, and taxes.

(v) Such other electronic capabilities within the existing or planned components of the Program as the Secretary shall by regulation require.

(B) Restriction on exemption from requirements

The Customs Service may not permit any exemption or waiver from the requirements established by this section for participation in remote entry filing.

(3) Conditions on filing under this section

The Secretary may prohibit a Program participant from participating in remote location filing, and may remove a Program participant from participation in remote location filing, if the participant—

(i) fails to meet all the compliance requirements and operational standards of remote location filing; or

(ii) fails to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations.

(4) Alternative filing

Any Program participant that is eligible to file entry information electronically from a remote location but chooses not to do so in the case of any entry must file any paper documentation for the entry at the designated location referred to in subsection (d) of this section.

(b) Additional entry information

(1) In general

A Program participant that is eligible under subsection (a) of this section to file entry information from a remote location may, if the Customs Service is satisfied that the participant meets the requirements under paragraph (2), also electronically file from the remote location additional information that is required by the Customs Service to be presented before the acceptance of entry summary information and at the time of acceptance of entry summary information.

(2) Requirements

The Secretary shall publish, and periodically update, a list of those capabilities within the existing and planned components of the Program that a Program participant must have for purposes of this subsection.

(3) Filing of additional information

(A) If information electronically acceptable

A Program participant that is eligible under paragraph (1) to file additional information from a remote location shall electronically file all such information that the Customs Service can accept electronically.

(B) Alternative filing

If the Customs Service cannot accept additional information electronically, the Program participant shall file the paper documentation with respect to the information at the appropriate filing location.

(C) Appropriate location

For purposes of subparagraph (B), the “appropriate location” is—

(i) before January 1, 1999, a designated location; and

(ii) after December 31, 1998—

(I) if the paper documentation is required for release, a designated location; or

(II) if the paper documentation is not required for release, a remote location designated by the Customs Service or a designated location.

(D) Other

A Program participant that is eligible under paragraph (1) to file additional information electronically from a remote location but chooses not to do so must file the paper documentation with respect to the information at a designated location.

(c) Post-entry summary information

A Program participant that is eligible to file electronically entry information under subsection (a) of this section and additional information under subsection (b) of this section from a remote location may file at any remote location designated by the Customs Service any information required by the Customs Service after entry summary.

(d) Definitions

As used in this section:

(1) The term “designated location” means a customs office located in the customs district designated by the entry filer for purposes of customs examination of the merchandise.

(2) The term “Program participant” means, with respect to an entry of merchandise, any party entitled to make the entry under section 1484(a)(2)(B) of this title.