We all live in a world where we are continually asked for more data. Every retail store wants your email address and more. Big Brother is watching us. My wife recently picked up a pair shoes on display in a shoe store where she regularly shops. She didn’t buy them, but before we had even gotten home she had a text message from that store with a picture of the exact shoes she was looking at, asking her to reconsider, this time with a discount. Really? How did it (they) know? We won’t ponder that here, but suffice it to say that our activities are being watched.


When it comes to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), it’s much the same. They watch import transactions and want your data! It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and there can be distinct advantages, but importers should be prepared for the changes.

Over the last several years, CBP gradually replaced their aging Automated Commercial System (ACS) with the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). ACE is a web based trade portal that changes the way the importing community interfaces with CBP.

Now that ACE is here, many other government agencies opted to use the ACE interface (piggyback, if you will) to collect additional data of their own. These agencies are referred to as Participating Government Agencies (PGA) and their data requirements have grown substantially as a result of ACE. The most two common PGA’s are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s worth noting that FDA now requires the electronic transmission of up to 38 additional data elements, and NHTSA has transitioned from a previously submitted paper form to 34 data elements transmitted electronically. More agencies are on the way!

Data, data, yes more data. Talk to the professionals and get ready!

Rick Walker (TN DEC member)

Rick is an industry veteran of 38 years, a Licensed Customs Broker, and Vice President of V. Alexander & Co., Inc.