U.S. importers and brokers now have another month to switch to ACE. According to U.S. Customs, the deadline for mandatory filing of entry summaries and other transactional data in the new computer system has been extended from February 28 to March 31.
Though welcomed by the trade, the extension does little to remedy the situation at hand: ACE is no more ready than it was at this time last month. That’s because businesses and brokers haven’t fully updated their software to “talk” to ACE. Unfortunately, programmers and developers can’t get to work on these updates until Customs provides them with all the specifications needed to configure their software for integration with ACE. As of right now, Customs has only released some of the specs.
You might be wondering what Customs is waiting for, after all this time. It turns out that this problem goes well beyond U.S. Customs and encompasses a smattering of other government agencies, such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), to name a few. Despite being given ample time to prepare, many agencies with regulatory oversight of imported goods simply haven’t ironed out the requirements for their own agency’s data collection needs via ACE.
And so we wait.