New Customs Rule Expands Availability of Informal Entries

New Customs Rule Expands Availability of Informal Entries

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has published its final rule, effective January 7, 2013, increasing the value threshold for “informal entries” from $2,000 to its maximum statutory limit of $2,500.  The final rule also removes regulatory language requiring “formal entry” for certain shipments for textile and apparel products. Consumption entries fall into two broad categories – (1) “formal,” and (2) “informal,” which are significantly less burdensome on importers.  Merchandise valued over $2,000 previously was subject to formal entry requirements, including the filing of one or more CBP Forms (such as a CBP Form 7501, Entry/Entry Summary), the posting of a surety bond, and payment of a minimum $25 Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF).  CBP’s new rule will enable additional shipments to qualify for informal entry, thereby eliminating the need for a surety bond, expediting customs clearance, and reducing the minimum MPF amount to $2 (assuming entries are filed electronically). CBP’s final rule explains that the increase in the informal entry value threshold responds to inflation and delivers on a key commitment under the US-Canada “Beyond the Border Initiative” (to harmonize value thresholds at $2,500 to expedite customs clearance on the US-Canada border).  The final rule also removes the requirement (set forth in 19 C.F.R. § 102.24(a)) that a formal entry be used for certain shipments of textile and apparel products due to the elimination of absolute quotas previously established under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing.  The final rule should benefit companies of all sizes, particularly regular importers of low-value shipments such as prototypes, samples and express shipments.  Textile and apparel companies also should benefit from an increased ability to use informal entries.

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