On December 20, 2016, an Interim Final Rule (IFR) announcing the “Regulatory Implementation of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise” was published in the Federal Register (81 FR 92978). The IFR amends Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR) to implement the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers), provide regulatory authority for the Center Director on trade matters, and identify the functions that are transitioning to the Center Directors.
The regulatory changes outlined in the IFR also include additions to 19 CFR §101 that define the Centers and the Center Directors and identify the Center management offices. Additionally, the IFR explains the process that CBP will use to assign importers to a Center and provides a Center assignment appeals process.
The regulatory changes set out in the IFR will be effective on January 19, 2017. At that time, the Centers of Excellence and Expertise test will be closed and CBP will no longer accept voluntary applications from importers to become participants. Additionally, the regulations waived under the test will no longer be waived. Although the Centers test will end effective January 19, 2017, importers that were accepted as participants under the test will continue to be handled on an account basis by their designated Center.
Importers should continue to submit documents electronically when possible in accordance with the amended regulations through approved means, such as Automated Broker Interface (ABI), the Document Imaging System (DIS), the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), or other means as specified in the regulations.
To download an Adobe copy of the IFR please follow this link: CBP CEE IFR