On April 27, 2020, US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) published a set of Frequently Asked Questions available here (“FAQ Guidance”) regarding the export of personal protective equipment products (“PPE Products”) covered under the temporary final rule published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA Rule”). Our blog posts on the FEMA Rule, related exemptions, and other developments are available here. The FAQ Guidance provided via a bulletin in CBP’s Cargo Systems Messaging Service includes important information regarding the submission of Letters of Attestation (“LOAs”) for certain exemptions and how shipments of PPE Products are being flagged and reviewed by CBP and FEMA.
The FAQ Guidance provides additional procedural guidance about submissions of LOAs by email and by uploads into CBP’s Document Imaging System (“DIS”). DIS submissions of LOAs are generally reviewed in advance of an export from the United States and preferable to emailed submissions for that reason. The FAQ Guidance confirms that, in addition to submissions made by exporters, CBP will also conduct data review, document review, and physical examination to identify possible shipments covered by the FEMA Rule.
The FAQ Guidance lays out a process for the resolution of disagreements between a carrier and CBP about the application of the FEMA Rule to a specific shipment that may contain covered PPE Products and that has been held for review.
- If the port believes that further review is needed, the information will be forwarded to CBP and FEMA headquarters personnel for additional review.
- FEMA and CBP will then review these identified cases on a daily basis in order to make a final determination. If the final determination is that a shipment should be diverted back into US commerce or allocated by the government, that decision is made by the FEMA Administrator and other senior US Government officials.
Overall, CBP will continue leveraging its longstanding process of notifying carriers, custodians, and shippers about holds and releases from hold, including phone calls, emails, etc. In addition, the FAQ Guidance clarifies that it is not a carrier’s responsibility to take proactive measures to identify shipments of PPE Products unless the carrier is also submitting filings to the Automated Export System. Nevertheless, CBP recommends that carriers take proactive measures and encourages them to participate in the Electronic Export Manifest (“EEM”) Pilot. As stated by CBP, an EEM will allow CBP to identify issues early on in the supply chain to allow administrative issues to be corrected before export movement is delayed and to better identify compliant shipments earlier in the process.