Beginning August 3, 2020, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will require filing of “Core” partner government agency (PGA) data in ACE. According to the Federal Register notice, “On that date, APHIS intends to begin applying Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) flags, which will alert filers who opt to submit data electronically whether APHIS import data is or may be required. Importers or brokers using ACE must enter APHIS-required import data when they receive an APHIS-specific HTS flag in order to complete their entry in the system.”
The APHIS Core Message Set includes Plant Protection & Quarantine (APQ), Veterinary Services (AVS), Biological Regulatory Services (ABS), and Animal Care (AAC) programs. This requirement means that Customs entries of APHIS-regulated plants, plant products, animal products, or live dog imports will need to use the APHIS Core Message Set to provide APHIS-required import data for those items. At this time, the import of other live animals is not included in the requirement. Importers and brokers must submit required data for APHIS-regulated products regardless of the size or value of the shipment.
In a January communication, APHIS shared that “with access to more information about incoming agricultural products, APHIS and CBP can focus on shipments that pose a higher risk of introducing pests or diseases.” Furthermore, APHIS anticipates moving to electronic processing will help them “troubleshoot any issues before they cause delays at the port of entry, resulting in fewer holds and faster release times.”