CUSTOMS PLANS FIRST ACE TEST IN OCTOBER, CALLS FOR PARTICIPANTS
The U.S. Customs Service is planning to test the first phase of its umbrella computer system, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), by the end of October.
Customs said the test, which will begin by Oct. 28, would initially include about 40 importers for participation. Importers who wish to participate in the test must apply by June 1. Customs said the test will run for approximately two years, and comments regarding the test may be submitted at any time. Additional participants may be selected throughout the duration of the test, Customs said.
ACE is expected to monitor trade and ultimately phase out Customs’ current automated trade-monitoring program, the Automated Commercial System, which has been in place for 18 years. Customs expects ACE to be fully functional in four or five years. However, the timeline for ACE is subject to change based on funding and technical requirements.
“This test is the first step toward changing the way the world interacts with U.S. Customs,” Customs said. “This test accommodates both Customs and the trade.”
Customs said the test will allow participants, or account holders, to view integrated data for their account information from multiple system sources, and to interact with Customs via newly created account portals.
To be eligible for participation, an importer must participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a joint government-industry initiative initiated to build cooperative relationships that bolster supply chain security, and have the ability to connect to the Internet. Customs said priority consideration would be given to importers using carriers that participate in the Customs Industry Partnership Programs.
IPP consists of several partnership programs aiming to engage the trade community in a cooperative relationship with Customs in the war on drugs and terrorism, such as the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition and the Carrier Initiative Program. Customs will also give priority consideration to importers who have participated in the Account Management Program for at least one year, and who are managed by a full-time account manager.
For additional information, contact Hedwig Lock, at U.S. Customs' Office of Field Operations, (703) 317-3657.