by James Roberts, VP of Compliance, J.M.Rodgers Co., Inc.

You should note the CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE AND EXPERTISE (CEE) are now a permanent fixture inside CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (CBP) and an integral part of how CBP will conduct its business with you, the importer. At this point some might wonder, what is a CEE?

The CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE AND EXPERTISE (CEE) are industry-specific centers or teams, within CBP, that have been given authority to take over some entry and compliance responsibilities previously belonging to the Port Directors at each port of entry. CBP established the CENTERS with the goal to “increase uniformity” of practices that relate to the entry process and to resolve “trade compliance issues” throughout all ports of entry, while Port Directors would focus more on border security issues.
Each CENTER is headed by a Director, who is given the same authority as a Port Director (see Delegation order 14-004, dated 09/11/2014). CENTERS are staffed with personnel have a specific industry expertise focus. Although the CENTERS have various geographical locations around the country, CENTER personnel can be physically located in every port of entry and work with the CENTERS remotely.

What does this mean for you the U. S. importer?

The CENTERS, in combination with ACE, were designed to increase uniformity in how they process entries in every port and support timely resolution of trade compliance issues. They now have the complete means to manage and enforce regulatory compliance on an ACCOUNT BASIS throughout all ports. You, the importer, will want to ensure your import compliance programs are being consistently implemented wherever you transact Customs business.

In short, the separation responsibilities for entry processing at ports of entry between the CENTER DIRECTORS (CEE) and the PORT DIRECTORS now look like this:

The CEE now have national responsibility for:

ADMISSABILITY 

FTA ELIGIBILITY 

ENTRY SUMMARY REVIEW 

POST SUMMARY CORRECTIONS (PSC) 

PRIOR DISCLOSURES 
The Port Directors maintain responsibility for: 

CARRIER MANIFESTS 

CARGO RELEASES 

CARGO EXAMINATIONS

At the CTPAT conference in Detroit, MI, last month, Attendees were to “throw out your paper copies of 19 CFR”, because they have been completely rewritten. Instead we were told to use E19 CFR. Amendments to the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR) give it authority and permanent status.
For additional information and details – including a map of CEE locations around the U. S., please the link below. We will continue to provide updates as implementation progresses and how it can affect you. Stay tuned!