If you are a U.S. importer, you should have been assigned to one of the Centers for Excellence and Expertise of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). In this regard, CBP is shifting more and more import review responsibilities to its ten Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs). The CEEs were established by CBP to increase uniformity of agency practices across ports of entry; facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide; and, concentrate expertise in specific subject areas of high priority review by CBP. Import specialists from Customs ports around the country are assigned to job duties at individual CEEs, even though ordinarily they are not physically present. The ten CEEs, largely virtual but with actual brick and mortar headquarters in their assigned ports, focus on ten broad product sectors. These include:
- Apparel, Footwear & Textiles – San Francisco
- Agricultural and Prepared Products – Miami
- Automotive and Aerospace – Detroit
- Base Metals – Chicago
- Consumer Products, Mass Merch. – Atlanta
- Electronics – Los Angeles
- Industrial and Manufacturing Materials – Buffalo
- Machinery – Laredo
- Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals – Houston
- Pharmaceuticals, Health and Chemicals – New York
The importance of the CEEs is reflected in the transfer of key Customs review responsibilities to them. These include: Entry Summary Reviews, including rejection; AD/CVD entries and policies; Free Trade Agreement eligibility reviews; Protests; Post Summary Corrections and Post Entry Amendments; Review of Prior Disclosures; and the issuance of CBP Forms 28 (Requests for Information issued to the Importer of Record) and 29 (Notices of Action taken by CBP).
Importers are assigned to one of the ten CEEs, based on the highest value of import shipments accounted for by one of the ten specific product groups. If you receive a Form 28 or 29, make a Prior Disclosure, or deal with antidumping or countervailing duty orders and entries, you will undoubtedly contact (or be contacted by) the Center for Excellence and Expertise to which you as an importer are assigned.
Robin W. Grover