TORONTO, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance is concerned that customs pre-notification proposals for food shipments to the U.S. will lead to conflicting regulations for Canadian exports.
Separate advance data requirements are currently being developed under two different acts, by two different U.S. federal government agencies. The prior notice requirement for food shipments into the U.S. is being developed under the Bioterrorism Act by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Proposed rules would require notice to be submitted by noon of the day prior to import of food products regulated by the FDA.
This is in addition to the umbrella requirement for all imported goods under the United States Trade Act of 2002: The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (previously the U.S. Customs Service) is now in the final stages of developing a pre-notification rule following consultations with industry groups. An earlier “strawman” proposal of 4 hours pre-lading notice was dropped by Customs, and under consideration now is the trade community’s call for a much shorter timeline of 15 to 30 minutes.
“In no way do we question the need for heightened security throughout the supply chain in the post September 11 world,” said David Bradley, chief executive of CTA. “But the prospect of two sets of prior notice requirements from different agencies of the U.S. federal government is a major concern to CTA.”
Bradley explains that not only are the time frames substantially different, there are separate information systems, different parties providing the information and different data elements.
“It would be a logistical nightmare especially for LTL (less than-truck-load) carriers. Pallets containing food products would be subject to a minimum of 12 hours prior notice with carrier and border location data being supplied by the U.S. importer. The same food pallet, as well as all other shipments on the truck would also be subjected to U.S. Customs pre-notification requirements to be met by either the broker or carrier and supplied through a different information system and in a different time frame.”
The CTA’s submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests that instead of developing two processes one for food and one for everything else that a single interface be developed, and that the various government agencies share information that is relevant for their purposes.
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