Focused Assessment Program

For the first time in over ten years, Customs has updated the Focused Assessment or audit program.  The updates are being rolled out in phases; the first phase includes a revised Pre-Assessment Survey Questionnaire.  A copy of the revised questionnaire is attached.  With the updated program, Customs is engaging the importer earlier in the audit process with the more robust questionnaire.  In addition, importers will see larger sample sizes and changes in language in the audit reports.  Customs emphasizes its “risk based approach” to candidate selection and to an importer’s compliance program and is now tailoring the audit to the specific circumstances of the importer.  Customs focus is on the suitability of the design and implementation of controls that mitigate any risks relative to a company’s import activity and includes a review of written procedures.  Audit areas include value, classification, Free Trade Agreements, and AD/CVD.   

Fur Products Labeling Act Revised

The Federal Trade Commission recently amended the Fur Products Labeling Act to include an updated Fur Products Name Guide, more flexibility in labeling, and amendments to guaranty provisions.  Under the amended act, neither the label nor the type size must be a certain size so long as the labels on fur garments are legible and conspicuous to the consumer.  In addition the required information no longer needs to be in a certain order.  However, the country of origin of the fur must still be listed as “Fur Origin:….”  In addition to the required information, the amended rule permits non-required information, which is true and non-deceptive, to be included on the front of the label.  Finally, the amended rule clarifies that electronically transmitted guaranties are acceptable and are not required to be renewed annually.  The revisions take effect on November 19, 2014.

Customs Proposes Change to Importer ID Form 5106

Customs has recently proposed major changes to Customs Form 5106, the Importer ID Input Record, to require much more information about the company and its officers.  The form is the basis for establishing bond coverage, release and entry of merchandise, liquidation, and the issuance of bills and refunds.  Each importer must file Form 5106 with its first formal entry.  In particular, Customs is proposing to require the Social Security and passport number of its officers who have knowledge of the company’s imports and financial business.  Other new information includes the company’s D-U-N-S number, banking institution, the state or country of incorporation, and the reference number on the Certificate of Incorporation.  This information was not previously required.  Comments are due December 8, 2014.