The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)

By Beatriz B. Ramirez, Free Trade Agreement Specialist, Illinois SBDC International Trade Center

If you export or import, there are important changes coming to reporting systems. It all revolves around The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) - the single window for importers and exporters to send trade data to Customs Border Protection (CBP) by the end of 2016. CBP is currently testing the Electronic Export Manifest. CBP is asking for volunteers in the export community to test the electronic export manifest so that the Automated Export System currently being used can be retired. (See

May 1, 2015, was the date originally assigned to require the electronic import manifest and electronic export manifest through ACE. This date still applies to importers, while exporters will be set up in a pilot program where volunteers from the export community are encouraged to participate.

The electronic export manifest will be rolled out by each different mode of transportation with specific dates announced through Federal Regulation Notices. While this occurs, CBP will define the regulations for the electronic export manifest, and will determine the specific dates when CBP will require that the electronic export manifest becomes mandatory.

Once the Electronic Export Manifest is deployed, it will replace the system currently being used to submit electronic export data. The goal is to reduce errors within ACE and to immediately detect errors, allowing notifications to be sent automatically to the appropriate entity (exporter, carrier, custom broker, freight forwarder, port authority, service center, non-vessel operating common carrier, or consolidator). This should also reduce reporting penalties. Validation tables provided by CBP and other government agencies will be uploaded into ACE to further reduce errors.

Other advantages of ACE include:

a)      Administrative issues more easily resolved.

b)      Ensures that your shipment is in compliance with the export reporting requirements, providing immediate feedback to the company, eliminating cost of correction and waiting time.

c)      Eliminate duplicate reporting.

d)     Eliminate costly delays because of paper handling.

e)      Ability to validate data with other agencies regarding previously approved licenses.

For more information, contact Beatriz B. Ramirez at (309) 677-3075.