New pre-note proposal “liveable”

WASHINGTON, (July 21, 2003) — The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection has announced it will drop its originally-proposed advance pre-notification timeframes to under an hour for shippers and carriers carrying goods into the U.S.

While U.S. Customs will officially publish its new proposal in the Federal Register on Wednesday, the Canadian Trucking Alliance says it has received an advanced copy which states shipments destined into the U.S. by truck under the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) border clearance system will be subject to a 30-minute pre-notification requirement before arriving at the border. For carriers using PAPS (Pre-Arrival Processing System) the pre-notification interval will be one hour. In addition, the CTA says U.S. export shipments to Canada will continue to be exempt from the advance notification requirements.

The CTA calls the latest rules “liveable” compared with the “straw man” proposals floated by CBP earlier this year. These rules, which were taken off the table after industry groups like the CTA and large shippers complained they would devastate just-in-time-shipping, would have required both shippers and carriers to submit cargo data to U.S. Customs four hours before a truck is loaded in Canada for shipment to the U.S., and 24 hours prior to loading a truck in the U.S. destined for Canada.

“The industry was unanimous in its view that the straw man proposals were not workable,” said CTA’s chief David Bradley. “CBP appears to have recognized that their security requirements can be met without imposing undue constraints on Canada-US-trade.”

The proposal will be open for a 30-day comment period, and after a transition period of 90 days following publication of the final rule, the new requirements are expected to come into force in early 2004.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is going forward with its own electronic pre-notification proposal for food shipments. The agency would require shippers and any carrier that ” packs or stores” food to provide pre-notification via the Internet by noon of the day prior to import. The proposed rule would take effect Dec. 12, 2003.

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