January 31, 2020—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing next steps for implementing the APHIS Core Message Set in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).
APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) work together to keep damaging plant pests and animal diseases out of the United States. APHIS, along with many other U.S. government agencies, requires importers to file specific information with CBP about the products they are bringing into the country. This information helps APHIS and CBP make timely science-based decisions about the admissibility of imported commodities. ACE streamlines the import process into a single portal system designed to electronically collect and distribute import data traditionally collected on paper, consolidating it and adding data elements into what are known as message sets.
Beginning in August 2020, APHIS will activate Core Message Set flags in ACE. That means, importers and brokers using ACE to submit electronic customs entries that include APHIS-regulated plants, plant products, animal products, or live dog imports will have to use the APHIS Core Message Set to provide APHIS-required import data for those items. This phase does not include other live animal imports.
Using ACE and the APHIS Core Message Set has many advantages over submitting paper entries. Because all of the data CBP and APHIS need to quickly clear incoming shipments is immediately available in ACE, we can help troubleshoot any issues before they cause delays at the port of entry, resulting in fewer holds and faster release times.
Using ACE and the APHIS Core Message Set also helps to protect U.S. farms and forests from damaging plant pests and devastating foreign animal diseases. With access to more information about incoming agricultural products, APHIS and CBP can focus resources on shipments that pose a higher risk of introducing pests or diseases. That means, we are better able to stop the introduction of diseases like African swine fever, which could devastate U.S. agriculture and our economy.
For help getting started with the APHIS Core Message Set or to ask questions about submitting import data for a specific product type, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stakeholders who are not equipped or do not wish to file customs entries in ACE may still submit paper documents. The Federal Register notice may be viewed here. Comments on the notice will be accepted for 30 days. To learn more about ACE and the APHIS Core Message Set, go to www.aphis.usda.gov/ace.