Preference Programs/Free Trade Agreement

In the event that CBP becomes aware of any action taken by the ISA importer which could rise to the level of fraud, CBP will provide written notice of the errors to the ISA participant.  The importer will then have 30 days from the date of the notification to review the alleged errors and, if necessary, file a disclosure.  Civil penalties or liquidated damages may be assessed against an importer due to fraud; however, participation in ISA is considered a mitigating factor.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, The United States is party to many bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.  Countries that have bilateral agreements with the United States include: Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Peru and Singapore.  Active multilateral trade agreements that the United States has signed include the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central America Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  Each agreement has requirements that are described in the General Notes to the HTSUS.  The United States is also a party to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, overseen by the WTO) along with 152 other countries.  Currently, trade agreements with Panama and Colombia are awaiting congressional approval.  The United States is also negotiating trade agreements with Malaysia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU, which includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland).

Free trade agreements typically contain origin requirements that imported articles must meet before they can enter the United States free of duty and quota restrictions.  Specific requirements must be met in order for importers to claim preferential treatment under an FTA.  Importers that wish to make use of preferential treatment under a FTA must use reasonable care in determining the applicability of the agreement to the transaction in question.

CBP will also provide liaison personnel for consultation and/or guidance as requested.  CBP promises ISA participants that the officials who provide guidance will work with the company, and not against it, to make certain its compliance systems are effective.  Other benefits to the importer include entitlement to receive entry summary trade data, including analysis support, and additional incentives tailored to the importer’s specific needs.  Aside from the benefits offered by CBP, the establishment and maintenance of the internal controls required of ISA importers will allow the importer to enjoy greater business certainty with respect to its Customs-related transactions.