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2016 U.S. Import Compliance Trends to Know

Posted by IFCO Systems
December 09, 2015

Most customs delays and penalties that occur are related to inaccurate or incomplete documentation. With new programs like ISPM 15 in place, along with trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a little extra attention can help ensure a worry-free border clearance. Here are 5 trends you need to be aware of for 2016 if your company imports into the United States.

Pay Attention to Solid Wood Packaging - Even Bracing Material. ISPM 15, a program to prevent the spread of foreign wood-born pests in solid wood packaging, has been in effect for several years. Unfortunately, it still results in disrupted shipments. While ISPM 15 stamp requirements are well understood for wood pallets and packaging, shippers should note that even solid wood bracing is covered by the program. Any solid wood components must be stamped to prevent loads from being rejected.

Buy Certified Used Pallets Only from Authorized Vendors. Another area of focus for export and import compliance is use of used or recycled wood pallets for international shipping. Customs officials are on the alert for improperly marked or improperly repaired pallets. To avoid any problems, shippers should buy ISPM 15 compliant used pallets from approved suppliers only. While pallet vendors not participating in the ISPM 15 program are allowed to sell used ISPM 15 stamped pallets, it is illegal for them to market them as being ISPM 15 conforming. And to alter ISPM 15 certified pallets is illegal - for example by repairing them.

U.S. - Canada ISPM 15 Exemption to End. Additionally, the exemption for wood packaging moving back and forth between Canada and the U.S. is now expected to be terminated in the next two years after an informed compliance phase-in period. While Canada-U.S. pallet transactions have been treated the same as domestic movements in the past, soon these shipments will have to follow the same ISPM 15 stamp requirements as other international movements. Now is the time to begin preparation for that change.

“Single Window” Is Coming. The “single window” is a new system initiated by CBP and other participating government agencies aimed at streamlining the filing of import and export documentation - with a goal of benefiting government agencies and the trade community alike. The system will enable the import-export trade to utilize the “single window” to reach the various government agencies required, rather than interacting with them separately. “Single window”, including mandatory electronic filing, will be required by February 2016, after the earlier November launch was postponed.

Trans-Pacific Partnership. A new trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is still in the process of becoming fleshed out, and will involve 12 Pacific Rim countries. Details are still emerging.

Following import compliance best practices closely can provide your company with a competitive advantage. To learn more about what you can do to stay compliant and plan ahead, take a look at this informative PDF.

U.S. Import Compliance