For those who remember it, the paper edition Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States is conservatively four inches thick and 10 pounds of paper. Inside that compendium are hundreds of thousands of tariff numbers covering everything that can be imported into the United States – or not, in the case of “other, other, other” classifications.
Those HTS numbers are just the starting point to describe a product being imported, and are critical in allowing the government to conduct oversight and determine admissibility. Depending upon the classification, there are additional reporting requirements surrounding weight, volume, alcohol percentage and a host of other criteria.
Crucially, that product may also be subject to a submission of additional data to a Participating Government Agency (or, ‘PGA’) like the Food & Drug Administration, USDA, DOT any of nearly a hundred other regulatory agencies with potential jurisdiction.
The move away from paper-based forms and submissions to Customs and those agencies well preceded the pandemic in CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment, or ACE. While the core of ACE in the beginning was primarily used by Customs, as time has progressed more and more agencies have required their data be submitted through ACE during the electronic entry submission process.
A great example of the importance of correct data is the Food & Drug Administration product code. The agency does have a tool to build it available online , but without complete data on the item, it is possible to create a legitimate number that misdescribes the item in question. Accurate classification and coding are a must for a customs broker and their importer. These product codes, like HTS codes, can change over time, and importers need to ensure that their databases used for product code maintenance contain the most accurate information.
Product codes are how importers electronically inform the agency on the item’s details, packaging, quantity and other information necessary to determine admissibility. FDA inspectors check the information in their systems against facility registrations and approvals against what has been submitted and any mismatch could trigger a detention or refusal of entry. Detention of perishable product could lead to spoilage and a refusal could cause the entire shipment to be returned to origin or destroyed.
Alba Wheels Up has substantial industry experience with FDA and the additional data submission requirements of CBP and PGA’s. Our internal audit and review procedures and the time and care we apply to classification have yielded results – a successful track record of filings and releases with very few holds that require clarification with the agency.
To learn more about our product classification processes and to speak with a knowledgeable Alba representative about your classifications, contact us today.
- Posted by Joe DeSilvetri
- On March 12, 2021
- 0 Comments