U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had originally sought to begin enforcing the requirement for manifest and entry of instruments of international traffic (IIT's) with residue on September 16, 2009. This was based on Headquarters ruling H026715, which modifies an earlier ruling, to no longer allow containers imported with residual chemicals to be entered as empty; but rather requires manifesting and entry on the residue, just as is required for a full commercial transaction. This does include residual goods that originate in the U.S.
At the time of the ruling, CBP determined that the trade community needed additional time to fully understand and comply with the ruling's requirements, and thus the ruling has been in an “informed compliance” stage for the past 24 months. It has recently been confirmed by CBP that full enforcement of this ruling will begin on July 17, 2011.Presently, CBP is in an informed compliance mode regarding this regulation, which is meant to encourage importers to take the necessary steps to learn about and comply with the requirements at their earliest opportunity. Customs advises that once July 17, 2011 rolls around:
- ALL Instruments of International Traffic containing residual chemicals, cargo, goods, etc. that are destined to the United States MUST be manifested and entered in compliance with U.S. Customs laws.
- If qualified, shipments containing residual goods can be entered as American Goods Returned (AGR).
- Since the exact amount of the residual goods may not be known at the time the advance cargo information is required to be transmitted, the importer may estimate the amount when providing that information to the carrier for transmission to CBP. Additionally, the same estimated amount should be used at the time of entry of the goods. If a more precise amount is obtained after arrival, then the entry should be amended.
- 3A bonding will be required for Instruments of International Traffic, and normal entry bonding will be required for goods being entered. Note that these regulations will affect both carriers and shippers.
U. S. Customs has been quite clear and concise in their answers to the many questions posed regarding this ruling. As is generally the case when initiating new requirements, more questions are bound to crop up over the next few months. We encourage you to use the short remaining time before enforcement to ask those questions and to make the necessary adjustments within your organization to assure compliance before the enforcement date.