Q: What Can FTZ Operators Expect from e214 in ACE?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is working to complete the final deployment of core trade processing capabilities in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). As part of the delivery of core trade processing in ACE, CBP has established a series of mandatory use dates for transitioning to ACE.

The U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) e214 application for electronic admission filings presents multiple benefits, including a reduction in document handling placed on FTZ operators. Although the current e214 made admission filing electronically possible, those filings are not going directly in the Automated Commercial Environmental (ACE) system, so this transition moves one more piece of functionality from CBP’s old Automated Commercial System (ACS) system to ACE.

CBP has announced plans to integrate e214 into ACE in two phases:

Phase 1

  • As part of core trade processing in ACE, CBP will transition the current e214 mainframe functionality into ACE. 
  • Trade testing in the Certification environment is planned to begin in July 2017.
  • Deployment to the Production environment is targeted for August of 2017.

Phase 2

As part of post-core trade processing, CBP needs funding to develop enhancements in ACE for the e214, including:

  • Enhanced in-bond integration to remove redundant requirements
  • Interface with the Document Integration System (DIS)
  • Enhancement of zone-to-zone movements to remove redundant requirements and improve efficiencies




Companies must understand regulation deadlines, and have ready-made solutions that can support ACE filing, including the filing of e214s in an FTZ.   

As an industry leader in global trade on a single platform, Integration Point provides the ability to file directly with many government agencies around the world. For the U.S., this includes direct filing capabilities with ACE. By managing the entire import and export process end-to-end on a common, shared platform, companies are able to track the entire process, leading to stronger compliance.

Q: How Does a Business Manage Scope of Authority?

The U.S. FTZ Board hired an auditor to assess zone activities to confirm scope of authority compliance. Currently, the auditor has begun activity and enforcement to reach out to zone operators.

In one of the first spot checks conducted by the FTZ Board, auditors primarily focused on understanding the types of products the zone operator/user was admitting into the zone as well as the various finished good products. Checks also focused on reviewing the traceability reports that link the admissions to the removals, and discussing with the zone operator the specific controls in place to monitor and comply with the approved production scope. 

FTZ Board auditors and CBP officials may arrive more often at manufacturers, using Scope of Authority, to review current activities, review lists of functionalities and review product descriptions as well as other rules and regulations.

Most systems are capable of monitoring the inputs and outputs of the zone at the six-digit HTS level, but monitoring is usually reactive, meaning the transaction already took place before it is analyzed. Because the product description is the primary determinant for Scope of Authority approvals, with the HTS supplementing the description, monitoring at HTS level can be limited in terms of comprehensiveness--but is a good place to start. Many companies have procurement/sourcing groups responsible for ensuring admitted products are within the approved Scope of Authority and to ensure trade compliance happens.

The best protection is to ensure the written description—a key piece of functionality offered by Integration Point--is the correct input of finished goods with a HTS classification that can be tied to that description. The Integration Point FTZ solution provides operators with the option to validate specific zone transactions against the HTS list that is associated to a zone’s Scope of Authority at the six, eight, or 10-digit HTS level. Processes can also be built into the FTZ solution to help zone operators track Scope of Authority reviews at a part level. 

Integration Point, already a leader in global trade management solutions, offers U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) solutions with robust functionality designed to enhance compliance, along with providing companies with necessary tools they need to manage and optimize zone operations throughout all industries.


Q: What is the Most Efficient Way to Handle eCommerce in a Foreign-Trade Zone?

 FTZ clients are beginning to perform ecommerce fulfillment activities from the same distribution center where they have FTZ operations. The benefit is having goods “staged” closer to where customers are, without having to pay import duties until the order is placed and goods leave the distribution center on a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) shipment into the US.

Companies can utilize significant supply chain benefits from having centrally located ecommerce fulfillment. However, a recent trend among businesses is to have FTZ locations on the East Coast and West Coast to handle store orders to regions with more heavily populated parts of the country.

 The benefit of a centrally located ecommerce fulfillment distribution center is meeting customers’ growing expectation for fast shipping times. Fortunately, the FTZ program allows for Weekly Entry Filing, which means these FTZs can ship to their ecommerce customers as quickly as they normally would without the FTZ. Those companies then simply report to CBP their total duties at the end of the week--after the shipments are completed. In fact, for those customers also approved for Direct Delivery, the supply chain velocity for quickly moving product is faster in a zone-model then it would be in a traditional supply chain without zones.

DTC shipments tend to be small-parcel, so some FTZ clients have added Drawback Automation to FTZ solutions to recover duties paid for small-parcel shipments placed to customers and stores outside of the U.S.  

Using Integration Point Drawback Management, companies can easily access and view all the information needed for drawback filings across multiple countries. Integration Point provides the connection with various Customs offices around the world so that the drawback information, as well as other Customs data, can be filed electronically, thus reducing errors from manual data entry, and helping companies receive duties that until now have been left unclaimed.