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CBP delays new product residue rule

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has delayed implementation of its new rules for cargo tanks containing product residue. Enforcement was to begin September 16 but reportedly has been delayed indefinitely.

The rule applies to all bulk shipments—liquid and dry—that are entering the United States from a foreign country. The biggest impact probably will be on trade with Canada and Mexico. The rule is not limited to hazardous materials and includes products ranging from refined fuels and plastic pellets to edibles and beverages. All border crossing points into the United States will be affected.

In the past, cargo tanks could be transported back into the United States marked as “empty” despite some residual product remaining after the cargo was delivered. However, the CBP modification will require that these formerly “empty” containers should now be classified, entered, and manifested in order to prevent security risks to the United States, eliminate the potential risk to the health and safety of CBP officers, and fulfill the CBP’s revenue collection responsibilities, according to CBP officials.

CBP announced that it will delay enforcement until further notice in order for the trade community to fully comply with these new requirements. The agency encourages importers and shippers to take steps to comply with the ruling at their earliest opportunity.

CBP provided the following guidance on compliance:

  • Instruments of international traffic containing residual chemicals, cargo, goods, etc, must be manifested and entered in compliance with customs laws;
  • If qualified, shipments containing residual goods can be entered as American Goods Returned (AGR); and
  • Since the exact amount of residual goods may not be known at the time the advance cargo information is required to be transmitted, the importer may estimate the amount when providing that information to the carrier for transmission to CBP. Additionally, the same estimated amount should be used at the time of entry of the goods. If a more precise amount is obtained after arrival, the entry should be amended.
  • The CBP notice on cargo residue is on the web on page 138 at the CBP bulletin site.
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