Transitioning to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and Realizing the Single Window

U.S. businesses engaged in global trade markets finally have a centralized system for managing, sharing and tracking data, as well as addressing repetitive documentation issues. The goal for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) automated systems is to facilitate the electronic importing and exporting of goods. The transition to an automated system was tumultuous and brought several years of aggravation inside the trade community. However, the trade community needs to realize the “Single Window Initiative” (SWI) became a reality after CBP committed to a deadline for full implementation of its automated system in December 2016.

SWI is the process by which the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) became the Single Window, becoming the primary system for the government to verify admissibility exports and imports based on information reported by the trade community. ACE as the Single Window eliminates paper while automating and streamlining manual processes. This automated system makes it easier and more efficient for the trade community to comply with U.S. laws and regulations. As CBP continues to complete and to deploy core trade processing capabilities in ACE throughout 2017, the agency set mandatory use dates for ACE.

CBP has released guidance on the transition of the following capabilities to ACE that addresses high-level changes and provides ACE programming resources:

  • Drawback in ACE
  • Duty Deferral in ACE
  • Liquidation in ACE
  • Protest in ACE
  • Statements in ACE
  • Reconciliation in ACE

Among the system’s most significant benefits:

  • Streamlined submission of all shipment information to CBP and PGAs
  • Elimination of all paper documentation – everything is electronic
  • Faster processing, since CBP agents can allocate resources based on risk assessments
  • Enhanced visibility of shipment and cargo status through ACE-generated status messages
  • Capability for electronic post summary corrections
  • Decreased administrative costs
  • 24/7 access to online records
  • Ability to run more than 60 downloadable reports
  • Online payment capability for duties and fees
  • Enhanced border security


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