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What ACE Means for Businesses

Up until now, if a business dealt in the importation or exportation of goods to and from the United States, all necessary legal forms had to be filed with any number of different government organizations. Now, with the new ACE (Automated Commercial Environment), all import/export forms will be filed through a single system. Here's a quick overview of the ACE, how it works, who it affects, and how it will impact American businesses.

Single Window

The ACE system is the result of a February 2014 executive order from President Barack Obama. The order requires all government agencies dealing with trade to develop and implement what it calls a "single window" system for the submission and processing of forms related to import/export operations. The term "single window" refers to a simple, unified system that shares one database across all participating agencies. The ACE was put into practice early in 2016.

What the ACE Replaces

Prior to the ACE, the ACS (Automated Commercial System) was also meant to streamline the filing process, but it didn't involve as many government departments, and it allowed for problematic redundancies in filing. Put simply, multiple organizations would be submitting the same manifest for import/export goods independently, so if one organization made an error, it would be difficult to trace and correct.

Who Uses the ACE

Twelve Cabinet departments and 48 regulatory agencies will share the single window of the ACE. Shipping organizations will only have to file their forms once, and then all data will be shared among participating departments and agencies with real-time transactions. Shipping via road, rail, and sea have been working well since 2015, while air shipping was successfully integrated by 2016.

PGA Message Set

One of the core functions of the ACE is the PGA (partner government agency) message set. This standardizes the data all trade-related agencies require and allows them to share this data so shipping organizations only have to submit forms once through the ACE. Part of the PGA message set is the document image system, which enables agencies to create uniform electronic versions of all necessary documents, similar to how IRS tax forms have been making the transition to electronic fillable forms for the past several years.

Impact on Businesses

In addition to simplifying and streamlining how businesses dealing with import/export will interact with government agencies, the ACE will make it easier to catch errors and provide alerts for dangerous or prohibited materials in cargo. Because all forms are only submitted once and exist on a shared database, errors can be identified and corrections can be made in real time. Dangerous or prohibited shipments can be addressed as soon as they're identified, rather than one agency needing to request information and confirmation from another agency. This amounts to a significant reduction in paperwork, time, and potentially costly fines for businesses.

With the implementation of the ACE, working with government agencies for trade issues has never been simpler. Compliance has been streamlined, and the potential for errors has been reduced significantly. By October 2016, all types of businesses and government agencies must start using the ACE, so visit the ACE website for detailed information.

Since The Apparel Logistics Group is located in a foreign-trade zone, we are integrated to the U.S. Customs software for all form filing. We only file once per week for inbound and outbound shipments. This automation of paperwork is key to avoiding errors and delays in processing goods. If you need help getting your product shipped, feel free to request a consultation so we can best fit your needs.

Posted: 5/18/2016 11:03:16 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


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