Oh, Christmas Tree!  Christmas-Around-the-World

Big, small, short or tall – at the center of most Christmas celebrations is a brightly lit, beautifully decorated tree! Christmas trees weren’t always so decorated; the first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510. The first printed mention of a Christmas tree (or “Tannenbaum”) at all appeared in Germany in 1531. The Christmas tree first got its electrical glow in 1882 when American inventor Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for the holiday trees. The strings of lights were first mass-produced in 1890.

Are they real or fake?

In the US, 98 percent of Christmas trees are grown on farms, while only 2 percent are cut from the wild. In Europe, nearly 60 million Christmas trees are grown each year! Did you know that many parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten? Apparently, the needles are a good source of Vitamin C, but we’ll leave the taste testing to the experts!

Artificial trees were developed in Germany during the 19th century, originally crafted using goose feathers, dyed green and attached to wire branches. Artificial trees caught on in the US later, and, in 1930, US-based Addis Brush Company created the first artificial Christmas tree using brush bristles. It used the same machinery that was used to manufacture toilet brushes! Today, 80 percent of artificial trees, worldwide, are manufactured in China.

I think we’ll need a bigger tree…

France holds the record for the world’s largest Christmas present. In 1886, they gifted the US with the Statue of Liberty weighing in at 225 tons and standing at a whopping 46.5 meters high!

The other favorite holiday plant

The Poinsettia flower, native to Mexico, was brought to America in 1828 where its coloring caused it to become a holiday sensation.  Today the plant is known in Mexico and Guatemala as "La Flor de la Nochebuena" (Flower of the Holy Night, or Christmas Eve). Aside from the Christmas tree, Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant. Most Poinsettias are sold within a six-week period leading up to that holiday, representing some $60 million worth. The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 50 percent of the world-wide sales of Poinsettias.

You can find these facts and more at the Mirror, University of Illinois pages on Christmas trees and Poinsettias, and Youngstapreneur.

And if you’re in the mood for a carol or two, be sure to read our Integration Point Carols: Twas the Night Before Christmas, Twelve Days of Global Trade Compliance, and the classic, Deck the Halls – A Global Trade Management Spin on the old classic!

Wherever you may be in the world celebrating Christmas – Integration Point wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The US Census Bureau has issued a notice and instructions regarding updates to the format of the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) identifier in the Automated Export System (AES).

The unique seven-digit FTZ identifier represents the FTZ, subzone or site from which the goods are exported.

The correct format for the seven-digit identifier will be three numeric digits which represent the purpose zone, followed by two alphanumeric digits that represent the subzone and lastly, two numeric numbers representing the site.  If the FTZ identifier is not entered correctly, a fatal error response will be generated.

The new fatal error response codes are:

Fatal Error Response Code: 15A
Narrative Text: FTZ MUST BE 3 NUM (VALID ZONE) & 4 ANUM
Reason: The Foreign Trade Zone Indicator reported on the SC2 record does not have the required format of 3 numeric characters which is a valid zone followed by 4 alphanumeric characters.
Resolution: The Foreign Trade Zone Indicator must be specified in the required format.  The Foreign Trade Zone Indicator must be left justified with no trailing spaces.  Insert zeros when there is no sub zone or site.  Verify the Foreign Trade Zone Indicator, correct the SC2 record and retransmit.

Fatal Error Response Code: 15B
Reason: The Foreign Trade Zone Indicator reported on the SC2 record contains trailing spaces.
Resolution: The Foreign Trade Zone Indicator must be left justified with no trailing spaces.  Insert zeros when there is no sub zone or site.  Verify the Foreign Trade Zone Indicator, correct the SC2 record and retransmit.

Non AESDirect filers have until April 5, 2014 to update all software to accommodate the new zone identifier format and the fatal error response codes. To maintain compliance with Foreign Trade Regulations, AES filers must correct fatal errors as soon as possible. The data collected from the FTZ identifier field is essential to the calculation of US Foreign Trade Statistics and demonstrate the impact that FTZs have in increasing the number of exports.

Did you know that Integration Point is an AES Certified Service Center and Software Vendor? Integration Point AES, in combination with the entire Export Management suite of products, allows companies to guarantee proper validation of all the required documentation and reporting of an export shipment. Contact us today for more information regarding Integration Point Automated Export System (AES) and Export Management.

Integration Point and US Customs & Border Protection will present a free, educational webcast, “US CBP Update:  One US Government at the Border Trade Transformation Initiative” on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

The 60-minute webcast will include an update on the One US Government at the Border Initiative, the steps being taken to achieve a holistic approach to border management, and the vision of a single window for Government and the trade community.

During the webcast Cynthia Whittenburg, Executive Director, Trade Policy and Programs, Office of International Trade, CBP; and Susan Dyszel, Chief, International Trade Data System, ACE Business Office (ABO), Office of International Trade, CBP, will provide an overview of the key points of the One U.S. Government at the Border initiative as well as the PGA message set in ACE.

During the webcast, attendees will also be able to:

  • Learn what the One US Government at the Border initiative means for you, CBP and PGAs
  • Understand the connection between the One U.S. Government at the Border initiative and the “Single Window”
  • Learn how the PGA Message Set will enable the “Single Window” to function
  • Understand how the PGA Message Set will be used in the EPA and FSIS pilots
  • Understand how you can get involved in the PGA Message Set pilots and ACE Cargo Release
  • Hear updates on CBP's expansion of system to system data exchanges to additional PGAs and CBP’s efforts on the Document Image System, which will allow CBP and PGA personnel to share information in an automated manner for the release of legitimate imported goods

A Q&A session will follow the webcast, and dialogue will continue here on the Foreign Trade Zone News blog.

Register today for this free webcast!