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Glossary of Compliance Terms

ABI. “ABI” means the Automated Broker Interface functionality that allows entry filers to transmit immediate delivery, entry and entry summary data electronically to, and receive electronic messaging from, CBP and receive transmissions from Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) or any other CBP-authorized electronic data interchange system.

Activities. The following are activities for purposes of 19 CFR 163.1 (a)(1) of this section:

(i) Any importation, declaration or entry;

(ii) The transportation or storage of merchandise carried or held under bond into or from the customs territory of the United States;

(iii) The filing of a drawback claim;

(iv) The completion and signature of a NAFTA Certificate of Origin pursuant to § 181.11(b);

(v) The collection, or payment to Customs, of duties, fees and taxes; or

(vi) The completion and signature of a Chile FTA certification of origin and any other supporting documentation pursuant to the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

(vii) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SFTA), including a SFTA importer’s supporting statement if previously required by the port director.

(viii) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement (US-JFTA), including a US-JFTA declaration.

(ix) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), including an AFTA importer’s supporting statement.

(x) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (MFTA), including a MFTA importer’s declaration.

(xi) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), including a CAFTA-DR importer’s certification.

(xii) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (BFTA), including a BFTA importer’s declaration.

(xiii) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA), including an OFTA importer’s declaration.

(xiv) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), including a PTPA importer’s certification.

(xv) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (UKFTA), including a UKFTA importer’s certification.

(xvi) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA), including a CTPA importer’s certification.

(xvii) The maintenance of any documentation that the importer may have in support of a claim for preferential tariff treatment under the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (PANTPA), including a PANTPA importer’s certification.

(xviii) Any other activity required to be undertaken pursuant to the laws or regulations administered by Customs.

AII. “AII” means Automated Invoice Interface and is a method of transmitting detailed invoice data through ABI.

Assistant Commissioner. “Assistant Commissioner” means the Assistant Commissioner, Office of International Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington, DC.

Audit. “Audit” means an evaluation by CBP under 19 U.S.C. 1509 of records required to be maintained and/or produced by persons listed in § 163.2, or pursuant to other applicable laws or regulations administered by CBP, for the purpose of furthering any investigation or review conducted to: ascertain the correctness of any entry; determine the liability of any person for duties, taxes, and fees due, or revenue due, or which may be due the United States; determine liability for fines, penalties, and forfeitures; ensure compliance with the laws of the United States administered by CBP; or determine that information submitted or required is accurate, complete, and in accordance with any laws and regulations administered or enforced by CBP. An audit does not include a quantity verification for a customs bonded warehouse or general purpose foreign trade zone. An audit may be as extensive or simple as CBP determines is warranted to achieve the audit’s purpose under applicable laws and regulations.

“Authorized agent” is a person expressly authorized by a principal to act on his behalf. A ruling requested by an attorney or other person acting as an agent must include a statement describing the authority under which the request is made. With the exception of attorneys whose authority to represent is known, any person appearing before the Customs Service as an agent in connection with a ruling request may be required to present evidence of his authority to represent the principal. The foregoing requirements will not apply to an individual representing his full-time employer, or to a bona-fide officer, director, or other qualified representative of a corporation, association, or organized group.

Authorized electronic data interchange system means any established mechanism approved by the Commissioner of CBP through which information can be transferred electronically.

Broker. “Broker” means a customs broker.

Business day. A “business day” means a weekday (Monday through Friday), excluding national holidays. In addition to Saturdays, Sundays, and any other calendar day designated as a holiday by Federal statute or Executive Order, CBP offices shall be closed on the following national holidays:

(1) The first day of January.

(2) The third Monday of January.

(3) The third Monday of February.

(4) The last Monday of May.

(5) The fourth day of July.

(6) The first Monday of September.

(7) The second Monday of October.

(8) The eleventh day of November.

(9) The fourth Thursday of November.

(10) The twenty-fifth day of December.

If a holiday falls on Saturday, the day immediately preceding such Saturday will be observed. If a holiday falls on Sunday, the day immediately following such Sunday will be observed.

CBP. The term “CBP” means U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Certification. “Certification” means the electronic equivalent of a signature for data transmitted through ABI. This electronic (facsimile) signature must be transmitted as part of the immediate delivery, entry or entry summary data. Such data are referred to as “certified”.

Certified recordkeeper. A “certified recordkeeper” is a person who is required to keep records under this chapter and who is a participant in the Recordkeeping Compliance Program provided for in § 163.12.

Commissioner or Commissioner of Customs. The terms “Commissioner” or “Commissioner of Customs” mean Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Corporate compliance activity. “Corporate compliance activity” means activity performed by a business entity to ensure that documents for a related business entity or entities are prepared and filed with CBP using “reasonable care”, but such activity does not extend to the actual preparation or filing of the documents or their electronic equivalents. For purposes of this definition, a “business entity” is an entity that is registered or otherwise on record with an appropriate governmental authority for business licensing, taxation, or other legal purposes, and the term “related business entity or entities” encompasses a business entity that has more than a 50 percent ownership interest in another business entity, a business entity in which another business entity has more than a 50 percent ownership interest, and two or more business entities in which the same business entity has more than a 50 percent ownership interest.

“Customs and related laws,” includes any provision of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (including the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States), or the Customs Regulations, or any provision contained in other legislation (including the navigation laws), regulations, treaties, orders, proclamations, or other agreements administered by the Customs Service.

Customs broker. “Customs broker” means a person who is licensed under this part to transact customs business on behalf of others.

Customs business. “Customs business” means those activities involving transactions with CBP concerning the entry and admissibility of merchandise, its classification and valuation, the payment of duties, taxes, or other charges assessed or collected by CBP on merchandise by reason of its importation, and the refund, rebate, or drawback of those duties, taxes, or other charges. “Customs business” also includes the preparation, and activities relating to the preparation, of documents in any format and the electronic transmission of documents and parts of documents intended to be filed with CBP in furtherance of any other customs business activity, whether or not signed or filed by the preparer. However, “customs business” does not include the mere electronic transmission of data received for transmission to CBP and does not include a corporate compliance activity.

Customs or U.S. Customs Service. The terms “Customs” or “U.S. Customs Service” mean U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Customs regulations or CBP regulations. The terms “Customs regulations” or “CBP regulations” mean chapter 1 of title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR chapter 1).

Customs station. A “Customs station” is any place, other than a port of entry, at which Customs officers or employees are stationed, under the authority contained in article IX of the President’s Message of March 3, 1913 (T.D. 33249), to enter and clear vessels, accept entries of merchandise, collect duties, and enforce the various provisions of the Customs and navigation laws of the United States.

Customs territory of the United States. “Customs territory of the United States” includes only the States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Customs transaction” is an act or activity to which the Customs and related laws apply. A “prospective” Customs transaction is one that is contemplated or is currently being undertaken and has not resulted in any arrival or the filing of any entry or other document, or in any other act to bring the transaction, or any part of it, under the jurisdiction of any Customs Service office. A “current” Customs transaction is one which is presently under consideration by a port office of the Customs Service. A “completed” Customs transaction is one which has been acted upon by a Customs Service field office and with respect to which that office has issued a determination which is final in nature, but is (or was) subject to appeal, petition, protest, or other review, as provided in the applicable Customs laws and regulations. In a series of identical, recurring transactions, each transaction shall be considered an individual transaction for purposes of this part.

Data. “Data” when used in conjunction with immediate delivery, entry and/or entry summary means the information required to be submitted with the immediate delivery, entry and/or entry summary, respectively, in accordance with the CATAIR (CBP Publication 552, Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements) and/or CBP Headquarters directives. It does not mean the actual paper documents, but includes all of the information required to be in such documents.

Definitions of resident and nonresident. For the purposes of this subpart, “resident” means an individual who resides within, or a partnership one or more of whose partners reside within, the Customs territory of the United States or the Virgin Islands of the United States, or a corporation incorporated in any jurisdiction within the Customs territory of the United States or in the Virgin Islands of the United States. A “nonresident” means an individual, partnership, or corporation not meeting the definition of “resident.”

Department of Homeland Security or any representative of the Department of Homeland Security. “Department of Homeland Security or any representative of the Department of Homeland Security” means any office, officer, or employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, wherever located.

District. “District” means the geographic area covered by a customs broker permit other than a national permit. A listing of each district, and the ports thereunder, will be published periodically.

EDIFACT. “EDIFACT” means the Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport that provides an electronic capability to transmit detailed CBP Forms 7501 and 3461, or their electronic equivalents and invoice data.

Electronic entry. “Electronic entry” means the electronic transmission to CBP of:

(1) Entry information required for the entry of merchandise; and

(2) Entry summary information required for the classification and appraisement of the merchandise, the verification of statistical information, and the determination of compliance with applicable law.

Electronic immediate delivery. “Electronic immediate delivery” means the electronic transmission of CBP Forms 3461 or 3461 alternate (CBP Form 3461 ALT) data to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) or any other CBP-authorized electronic data interchange system in order to obtain the release of goods under immediate delivery.

Electronic Invoice Program (EIP). “EIP” refers to modules of the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) that allow entry filers to transmit detailed invoice data and includes Automated Invoice Interface (AII) and any other electronic invoice authorized by CBP.

Employee. “Employee” means a person who meets the common law definition of employee and is in the service of a customs broker.

Entry records/(a)(1)(A) list. The terms “entry records” and “(a)(1)(A) list” refer to records required by law or regulation for the entry of merchandise (whether or not Customs required their presentation at the time of entry). The (a)(1)(A) list is contained in the Appendix to this part. See “Interim (A)(1)(a) List”.

Filer. “Filer” means the party certifying the electronic filing of the application for immediate delivery, entry or entry summary. Filer may be a broker or an importer of record filing his own entries through ABI without the use of a broker.

“Headquarters Office,” means the Regulations and Rulings, Office of international Trade at Headquarters, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Washington, DC.

“Information letter” is a written statement issued by the Customs Service that does no more than call attention to a well-established interpretation or principle of Customs law, without applying it to a specific set of facts. An information letter may be issued in response to a request for a ruling when: (i) The request suggests that general information, rather than a ruling, is actually being sought, (ii) the request is incomplete or otherwise fails to meet the requirements set forth in this part, or (iii) the ruling requested cannot be issued for any other reason, and (iv) it is believed that general information may be of some benefit to the party making the request.

Inquiry. An “inquiry” is any formal or informal procedure, other than an investigation, through which a request for information is made by a Customs officer.

Interim (A)(1)(a) List: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/19/part-163/appendix-lii5

Liquidation means the final computation or ascertainment of duties on entries for consumption or drawback entries.

Officer. “Officer”, when used in the context of an association or corporation, means a person who has been elected, appointed, or designated as an officer of an association or corporation in accordance with statute and the articles of incorporation, articles of agreement, charter, or bylaws of the association or corporation.

Original. The term “original”, when used in the context of maintenance of records, has reference to records that are in the condition in which they were made or received by the person responsible for maintaining the records pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1508 and the provisions of this chapter, including records consisting of the following:

(1) Electronic information which was used to develop other electronic records or paper documents;

(2) Electronic information which is in a readable format such as a facsimile paper format or an electronic or hardcopy spreadsheet;

(3) In the case of a paper record that is part of a multi-part form where all parts of the form are made by the same impression, one of the carbon-copy parts or a facsimile copy or photocopy of one of the parts; and

(4) A copy of a record that was provided to another government agency which retained it, provided that, if required by Customs, a signed statement accompanies the copy certifying it to be a true copy of the record provided to the other government agency.

Party/person. The terms “party” and “person” refer to a natural person, corporation, partnership, association, or other entity or group.

Permit. “Permit” means any permit issued to a broker under § 111.19.

Person. “Person” includes individuals, partnerships, associations, and corporations.

Preclassification/binding ruling number. “Preclassification/binding ruling number” means the system by which classifications are approved and assigned a unique identifying number. This number may be transmitted as part of the ABI data.

Principal field officer. A “principal field officer” is an officer in the field service whose immediate supervisor is located at Customs Service Headquarters.

Records. “Records” means documents, data and information referred to in, and required to be made or maintained under, this part and any other records, that are required to be maintained by a broker under part 163 of this chapter. The term “records” means any information made or normally kept in the ordinary course of business. The term includes any information required for the entry of merchandise (the (a)(1)(A) list) and other information pertaining to, or from which is derived, any information element set forth in a collection of information required by the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, in connection with any activity listed in 19 CFR 163.1(a)(2) of this section. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following: Statements; declarations; documents; electronically generated or machine readable data; electronically stored or transmitted information or data; books; papers; correspondence; accounts; financial accounting data; technical data; computer programs necessary to retrieve information in a usable form; and entry records (contained in the (a)(1)(A) list).

Region. “Region” means the geographic area covered by a waiver issued pursuant to § 111.19(d).

Responsible supervision and control. “Responsible supervision and control” means that degree of supervision and control necessary to ensure the proper transaction of the customs business of a broker, including actions necessary to ensure that an employee of a broker provides substantially the same quality of service in handling customs transactions that the broker is required to provide. While the determination of what is necessary to perform and maintain responsible supervision and control will vary depending upon the circumstances in each instance, factors which CBP will consider include, but are not limited to: The training required of employees of the broker; the issuance of written instructions and guidelines to employees of the broker; the volume and type of business of the broker; the reject rate for the various customs transactions; the maintenance of current editions of CBP Regulations, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, and CBP issuances; the availability of an individually licensed broker for necessary consultation with employees of the broker; the frequency of supervisory visits of an individually licensed broker to another office of the broker that does not have a resident individually licensed broker; the frequency of audits and reviews by an individually licensed broker of the customs transactions handled by employees of the broker; the extent to which the individually licensed broker who qualifies the district permit is involved in the operation of the brokerage; and any circumstance which indicates that an individually licensed broker has a real interest in the operations of a broker.

“Ruling” is a written statement issued by the Headquarters Office or the appropriate office of Customs as provided in this part that interprets and applies the provisions of the Customs and related laws to a specific set of facts. A “ruling letter” is a ruling issued in response to a written request therefor and set forth in a letter addressed to the person making the request or his designee. A “published ruling” is a ruling which has been published in the Customs Bulletin.

Statement processing. “Statement processing” means the method of collection and accounting which allows a filer to pay for more than one entry summary with one payment. ACS, or any other CBP-authorized electronic data interchange system, generates the statement, which is transmitted electronically to the filer, consisting of a list of entry summaries and the amount of duties, taxes or fees, if any, due for payment. Upon payment and collection of the statement, those entry summaries designated as electronic will be scheduled for liquidation

Summons. “Summons” means any summons issued under this part that requires the production of records or the giving of testimony, or both.

Technical data. “Technical data” are records which include diagrams and other data with regard to a business or an engineering or exploration operation, whether conducted inside or outside the United States, and whether on paper, cards, photographs, blueprints, tapes, microfiche, film, or other media or in electronic or magnetic storage.

Third-party recordkeeper. “Third-party recordkeeper” means any attorney, any accountant or any customs broker other than a customs broker who is the importer of record on an entry.