ACE will allow importers and exporters to share trade documents with government agencies, saving shippers and brokers time and money. But, it’s now the second time in less than 12 months that Customs has tweaked the deadline for its ACE initiative, three years behind schedule and more than $1 billion over budget. Monday’s announcement comes after dozens of brokers, forwarders, importers and exporters lobbied the agency to modify its deadline for the ACE rollout, arguing they were running out of time and more internal agency checks were needed.

“Instead of flipping the switch, they’re dimming the lights,” Liz Connell, vice president of product management at global trade management software company Integration Point, told JOC.com Monday. “It will be more of a transition with a gradual transition over to ACE.”

For now, at least, Connell said, shippers will still have access to both ACE and what will soon be a legacy program, the Automated Commercial System or ACS.

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The delay in ACE implementation is in response to the trade community's concerns about the feasibility of meeting the deadline. One of the main reasons importers, customs brokers, and software providers have been struggling is that even as the date drew nearer, CBP continued to update ACE technical specifications and features, said Elizabeth Connell, vice president of product management and the lead on ACE development and integration for Integration Point, a provider of trade compliance software. Those changes included a major change affecting users of foreign trade zones on Jan. 15, just six weeks before the deadline.

If you manage international shipments, global trade may seem like a never-ending maze of import/export regulations and duty deferral programs. For every product in every country, the rules and regulations are different. As an exporter, you must answer these seven essential questions for each product you ship — which is easy in theory but difficult in practice. For example, in a single motorcycle shipment, the answers to these questions vary greatly depending on your country of import or export.

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There is a lot of news in supply chain management today – from single window initiatives to secure supply chains to regional trade agreements. With each having its own set of obstacles and benefits, companies should not only weigh the costs against the benefits, but also consider the effect that these new policies, rules and agreements will have on their entire supply chain, including trade compliance.

In the last few years, regional trade agreements have taken a foothold in the trade compliance world. Currently there are three major regional trade agreements in negotiation or ratification – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).

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As the trade anxiously awaits the November 1, 2015 mandatory filing deadline from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to go into effect, Integration Point is preparing as well.

As the trade anxiously awaits the November 1, 2015 mandatory filing deadline from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to go into effect, Integration Point is preparing as well. As a global trade management (GTM) solutions provider, Integration Point provides import/export management capabilities along with important interfaces throughout the supply chain for its global customers. While the November 1, 2015 mandate is not the first in a long line of changes to move the US to electronic filing through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), it will certainly be one of the largest changes to go into effect.

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Those in the trade often discuss the benefits of free trade agreements (FTA) - from the duty savings to preferential market access. However, actually securing the promised benefits for FTAs is not always straightforward. Many companies do not know where to start, and as the numbers of agreements keeps increasing, many do not know which FTAs are the right ones for their business. Getting started might seem like a daunting prospect; but if you take a step back and simplify your approach, you can put the right building blocks in place for a manageable FTA programme.

Continue reading on page 21 of Supply Chain Asia

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