Though the international trade landscape has changed considerably in the last few years, one thing that has not is the central importance of the US as a key destination for imports and exports.
Few companies that do business overseas do so without establishing some sort of commercial presence in the US - which makes it essential that they are able to handle the administrative requirements of doing so in the most effortless, efficient and error-free way possible.
One of the most important tools available to help achieve this is the Automated Broker Interface, also known as ABI. A system designed to facilitate the filing of electronic import data, the ABI has become an integral part of the US customs process, so it is essential for companies that are reliant upon it to become acquainted with its ins and outs.
The ABI was developed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of its Automated Commercial System (ACS), which is used to track, control and process all commercial goods imported into the US. This system expedites merchandise processing to reduce costs and bureaucracy for both CBP and the businesses with which it deals.
ABI is a central component of this system. A voluntary program available to brokers, importers, carriers, port authorities and independent service centers, it allows users to electronically file required import data with CBP, with entry summaries transmitted, validated, confirmed, corrected and paid electronically. It can also be used to query quotas, visa requirements, manufacturer information and entry/entry summary processing status.
Currently, more than 96 per cent of all entries are filed through ABI, demonstrating the pivotal role it has come to play in the US import business.
Companies can make use of ABI to accomplish a wide range of tasks, including:
- Filing entry release data electronically for cargo release processing; consolidated entry summaries; consumption entries, TIB entries, FTZ entries and warehouse withdrawals for consumption; selected bypass entry summaries; and drawback claims
- Receiving results of ACS edits and validations during development and testing of entry summary transactions; paperless designations for general exam entry transactions; conditional cargo release results; or priority handling through exam/release processing
- Transmitting US Customs Declarations
- Changing or updating entry dates and selected shipping details
The versatility of ABI means it offers a number of key benefits to users:
- By enhancing the speed and efficiency of the customs process, it facilitates the release of the merchandise in question
- Regular administrative messages keep users informed of all current information and issues as and when they arise
- Filers can pay for multiple entries with a single payment transaction through statement processing, while it is also possible to pay customs duties, fees and taxes electronically through the Automated Clearinghouse system
Taking advantage of ABI-compatible software
Given the numerous benefits the ABI system can provide, it can be extremely helpful for companies that regularly do business overseas to invest in customs software that is fully compatible with ABI standards.
The CBP maintains a list of software vendors who have been officially certified to submit transactions via the ABI system. MIC is one of these officially accredited vendors, thanks to its United States Customs solution.
With this web-based system, users can automate the processes for multiple facilities from a single hosted or licensed instance, allowing companies to establish a standardized, organized and defined workflow process that is fully responsive to existing regulations, while also helping them to get ahead of future changes.
The tool provides solutions not only for AES and ABI, but also for import/export compliance automation, 10+2/Importer Security Filing rules, classification management and foreign trade zone dealings. Additionally, it provides free trade agreement management and solicitation tools for deals such as NAFTA, CAFTA, US-Chile, US-Australia, US-Peru, CARICOM, AALA and the Buy America Act.
By investing in such a solution, companies can make sure their regulatory requirements are fulfilled efficiently, guaranteeing the highest levels of transparency in their international business dealings.