CCBFA Announces 2021 Scholarship

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The Chicago Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association is pleased to announce our annual scholarship program to benefit the employees and immediate families of our regular members or associate members in the Greater Chicago area.

The Chicago Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association would like to recognize excellence in education and encourage continuing studies. Our Scholarship Program is designed toassist deserving students in meeting their educational goals.


  • A qualifying Regular or Associate Member company must be in good member standing for the previous 12 months and be physically located in the Chicagoland area.
  • A qualifying candidate must be employed at a Member company or an immediate family member , as described below, of  an employee of the qualifying company.


To qualify for the scholarship, students must meet the following criteria:

  • The candidate must be enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year college, university, or an accredited junior college program. Qualified high school seniors of the class of 2021, who are enrolled for the fall 2021 term. will also be considered. Regrettably, we cannot accept applicants who are working on a postgraduate degree.
  • A minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA (based on a 4.0 scale) is required for college students and high school seniors.
  • Applicants must be an employee of a member firm, their spouse, their children, or their legal stepchildren who reside within the bounds of metro Chicago.  Grandchildren, brothers, sisters and similar relations are not included.


Download the 2021 Scholarship Application including your most recent transcript (or report card for graduating high school seniors) and a personal narrative as detailed on the application.

We welcome your application! Please email the completed application and all other required forms to Scholarship2021@ccbfa.org. The committee will evaluate all applications received on or before April 9, 2020. The scholarship awardees will be announced on May 30, 2021. Scholarship payments will be made to the educational institution identified on the application. Note that any funds that are not used in the first semester of the 2021/2022 school year must be returned to the association.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at the above email.

Cargo Systems Messaging Service CSMS #41151809

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Cargo Systems Messaging Service  CSMS #41151809

Information on Bills Issued Prematurely for Some Informal Entries.

Due to the federal holiday on December 24, some informal entries were liquidated prematurely on December 25 with incorrect bill amounts. These bills will be cancelled, the entries will be re-liquidated, and any bills will be re-issued with the correct amounts.

US – Japan Free Trade Agreement Announced…

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CSMS #41149692 – U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement: Information on Claiming Preferential Treatment

The US-Japan Trade Agreement (“Agreement”) will enter into force on January 1, 2020.  This message is to inform the trade community of the requirements for claiming preferential treatment under this new Agreement. 

In order to receive preferential treatment, a good must be originating and meet all the requirements of the U.S.-Japan Agreement. 

Annex II to the Agreement specifies the rules of origin used to determine if a good qualifies for preferential tariff treatment or “originates” under the Agreement.  The product-specific rules (Annex II to the Agreement) specify the level of change of tariff classification that non-originating materials must undergo.  General Note 36 will be added to the HTSUS and will include the requirements of the Agreement. The links to the US-Japan Trade Agreement text and related documents are below.


  • From January 1, 2020 through January 13, 2020, importers must pay duties on qualifying goods under the Agreement and request a preferential tariff retroactive claim by filing a post summary correction (PSC) to request the duty refund.  The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will accept the new special program indicator ‘JP’ as a prefix to the eligible tariff number on January 14, 2020.
  • On or after January 14, 2020, ACE will accept the new special program indicator ‘JP’ as a prefix to the eligible tariff number. Importers claiming preferential treatment under the Agreement must include on the entry, the special program indicator “JP” as a prefix to the eligible tariff number for each qualifying good requesting such preference.

To claim preferential tariff treatment under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Country of Origin must be ‘JP’
  2. Country of Export must be ‘JP’
  3. Once programmed in ACE, the Special Program indicator ‘JP’ must be placed before the eligible tariff number to make the claim. 
  4. Claims for preferential treatment under this Agreement are not exempt from the merchandise processing fee (class code 499 and class code 311).
  5. The tariff-rate quota allocation for beef from Japan is modified as follows:
    • The country specific Japan beef quota (200,000 kg) is eliminated and added to “other countries.” This updates the “other countries or areas” limit to 65,005,000 kg.
    • There is no change to the entry filing process. The ACE quota module will process eligible beef from Japan under the “Other countries or areas” quota.

More details on US-Japan implementing instructions will be provided on 

FDA Northern Border Contacts (includes Chicago & Illinois and other midwest states)

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Dear Members of the CBFAA,

Please  note updated contact information from FDA. Chicago and Illinois ports are under the jurisdiction of FDA Division of Northern Border Imports.  Please see the PGA folder on this website for the complete list of Northern Border FDA Port Offices which comprise the states of ID, IL, IN, MI, ME, MN, MT and ND.

, Director, Investigations Branch (West)

Vacant, Director, Compliance Branch (West)

Compliance Branch: If you need to contact the monitoring Compliance Officer, please use the specific contact information provided on your FDA Notice of Action.

Entry documents and electronic private laboratory analytical packages can be submitted using the Import Trade Auxiliary Communication System (ITACS) at https://itacs.fda.gov.

Electronic private laboratory analytical packages may also be submitted via email to the Compliance Officer listed on the FDA Notice of Action.

The status of an entry may be checked using the Import Trade Auxiliary Communication System (ITACS) at https://itacs.fda.gov.


Division of Northern Border Imports

Division Management Overview

Sandra K. Sylvester, Acting Division Director

Vacant, Director, Investigations Branch (East)

Sherea Dillon, Director, Compliance Branch (East)

Eric Joneson

Retirement of Mary Aikens

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Hello, Dear Members –
Several of the Board members attended Mary Aikens’ retirement luncheon at CBP’s office earlier this week on Tuesday, March 21st. Those of you who attended our Holiday Party 2016 recall that we honored Mary with the Gene Nikliborc Outstanding Service Award.

At the luncheon, it was our great pleasure to honor Mary with an engraved world clock to commemorate the award. Mary started her career in 1975 at headquarters and then moved to Chicago in 1977, where she served as an inspector in both Cargo and Passenger Processing. In January of 1989, she left the uniformed job and transferred to the Port of Chicago District office, where she served the next 13 years as Deputy Entry Officer. In 2002, Mary became Chief Entry Officer and served in this role until her retirement very soon.

We are honored to have experience Mary’s service, knowledge and friendship over the years and wish her the best in a relaxing retirement!

Happy Spring to All!
Jane Sorensen

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)

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On Tuesday, March 1st, the NCBFAA  released a Monday Morning eBriefing newsletter, which focused on the recent statement that was made by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

According to the NCBFAA eBriefing,  the USCG took a moment to clarify its position on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the new carrier guidelines that require the exporter that is listed on carrier’s master bill of lading to provide a certification of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of any container (including the tare weight of the container) tendered to the vessel operators.

There is no need to change processes

Admiral Paul Thomas of the USCG advised that the Coast Guard would need to implement the IMO’s changes through an appropriate regulatory rulemaking, before the IMO can compel the U.S. shippers and carriers to change their current business practices.

It was said that current ly the USCG feels that today’s process are     working as long as both the shipper and carrier has done their job    properly.  Since there is nothing deficient or inherently unsafe about existing export processes, the Coast Guard feels that there is no need to change processes and will not do anything to enforce the new VGM rules on either the U.S. shippers or carriers .

It is assumed that the carriers will not accept this and will continue to push U.S. exporters and OTIs to still provide a VGM  certificate.  This will be monitored carefully by the NCBFAA.

AESDirect is now the ACE Portal

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AESDirect has been moved to the ACE portal.  At this time, you can still access the AES Direct; however, it is the intent for CBP/ Census to move the login and password to ACE Portal.

It is just a matter of getting everyone signed on with a new password and login.    You may ask, “Why do we need to be on the ACE Portal, if we already link with AES through our software system?”.  You can file AES through the ACE Portal,  if your system goes down.   The AESDirect via ACE Portal is a good back up for this purpose.  The sign up process takes a few days, so if you do not prepare in advance you will not be able to process AES through the ACE Portal.   When you are singed up, please note that the ACE Portal works best in Explorer. Firefox and Chrome work for the first screens, but anytime you want to drill into the system you will stop having functionality.

If you are a freight forwarder, the AES direct is located via the Exporter pull down view.    Then, go to Submit AESDirect Filings.  I recommend to send an EEI in the AESDirect in order to test that you know the process.

Once you are in the system you will find the program is user friendly.