By Brian Bradley / www.americanshipper.com / October 2nd, 2018
Advance rulings, online publication and express shipments covered in updated text.
New provisions to expedite express shipment clearances, normalize timelines for issuing advance customs rulings and for online publication of customs procedures are among the customs measures agreed to by the United States, Mexico and Canada during their renegotiation of NAFTA, which completed Sunday night.
According to the pact’s customs text, the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — which the rebooted NAFTA is known by — sets forth that each party adopt or maintain “specific expedited customs procedures” for express shipments while maintaining appropriate customs controls.
The procedures must provide for information required to release an express shipment to be submitted and processed before the shipment arrives, allow a single submission of information such as a manifest covering all goods contained in the shipment “through, if possible, electronic means” and provide for subject shipments, “under normal circumstances,” to be released immediately after arrival, as long as all required documentation and data are submitted.
Canada agreed to raise its de minimis level from $20 to $150, sparing all shipments up to that amount from duties, but will collect taxes on shipments worth $40 to $150, according to the text. This follows Mexico’s agreement to raise its de minimis level from $50 to $100. The United States’ de minimis level is $800.
The USMCA also includes new language to prohibit member countries from requiring, as a condition of applying for an advance ruling, exporters or producers of another member country to be in a contractual or other relation with a person located in the territory of the importing party.
The pact also would newly require governments to issue advance rulings “in no case” after 120 days after obtaining all necessary information from the person requesting an advance ruling, according to the USMCA text.
Among the online publication provisions are a requirement for all parties to publish on the internet the documentation and data they require for importation into, exportation from or transit through their territories; a requirement to publish laws, regulations and procedures for import into, export from or transit through their territories; and a requirement to publish laws, regulations and procedures to “be a customs broker, to issue licenses and regarding the use of customs brokers,” the text says.
Under procedures established by Trade Promotion Authority legislation, the USMCA won’t come up for a congressional vote until February at the earliest. Whether the revised agreement passes Congress heavily depends on whether the Senate and House will remain in GOP control.
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