In April 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the Broker ISA Pre-Certification (ISAPC) pilot program. The program will allow selected brokers who were certified by CBP to conduct ISA evaluations of importers’ applications for participation in the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) Program.
Launched in 2002, the ISA program recognizes importers who are committed to ensuring a high level of compliance. To be accepted in the program, companies must demonstrate its readiness to assume responsibility for managing and monitoring their compliance through self-assessment. In turn, ISA members receive certain incentives and experience more business certainty and autonomy over their customs related activities.
The primary goal of the Broker ISAPC pilot is to leverage customs broker relationships to facilitate and promote importer participation in the ISA program, particularly for small and medium importers. Through their communication with importers, the ISA pre-certifiers will provide information on the ISA program and work to expedite the ISA application process for importers who choose to use their services.
The ISA pre-certifier’s responsibilities will include reviewing the importer’s ISA application package, evaluating the importer’s written customs-related policies and procedures with a focus on identified risk areas, assessing the design of the importer’s internal control to achieve customs compliance, consulting with the importer on best practices, and assessing the adequacy of the importer’s risk-based self-testing plan. Once the pre-certifier completes its evaluation, it is required to prepare and submit its findings to CBP through an evaluation report and supporting documentation.
Importers interested in ISA membership may use any of the brokers who have been deemed certified entities by CBP to conduct ISAPC evaluations. Through the ISAPC pilot, ISA pre-certifiers will serve as liaisons between CBP and the trade community acting as a “force multiplier” to facilitate and expand legitimate trade while increasing the pool of trusted traders with minimal allocation of additional CBP resources.