If You Think Your Sourcing and Importing Information Is Secret, Think Again.

Importers operate as if their manifest information is automatically confidential, but data mining companies sell this information online for a subscription fee. A few websites offer the information for free.  While there is some variety in the intelligence and services offered, competitors can easily find out what goods importers are importing, from where, and from whom.  

Fortunately, you may formally request that CBP keep your manifest information confidential by going to www.cbp.gov/trade/automated/electronic-vessel-manifest-confidentiality.  Confidentiality lasts for two years. 


This CSMS message is a correction of CSMS 49132200, issued August 20, 2021, which inadvertently referenced internal CBP guidance.

This message provides updated guidance concerning (a) importer and broker responsibilities in filing duty free claims under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) Subheading 9801.00.10, and (b) documents that CBP may request to support claims under Subheading 9801.00.10. This CSMS message supersedes guidance CBP previously issued via CSMS 17-000046 on January 30, 2017.


On April 25, 2016, a change to HTSUS Chapter 98 for U.S. goods returned went into effect. Specifically, section 904(b) of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, “Modification of Provisions Relating to Returned Property,” amended HTSUS Subheading 9801.00.10 to read as follows:

Products of the United States when returned after having been exported,
or any other products when returned within 3 years after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad

The expansion of Subheading 9801.00.10 includes all products exported from and returned to the United States, regardless of country of origin. For U.S. origin products, there is no time limit on filing a claim. For foreign origin products, there is a 3-year time limit. The changes to 9801.00.10 apply to U.S. or foreign articles returned to the United States and entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after April 25, 2016.


The importer has the burden to prove their claim for duty-free treatment under Subheading 9801.00.10. If the broker obligates themselves as the importer of record, they will assume the legal responsibility and burden to provide the required documents to substantiate the Subheading 9801.00.10 claim.

Customs Brokers act as agents for the importer and, as such, also have a duty of care in the filing of entry documents; however, the burden of proof is not on the broker (unless the broker is acting as importer of record) when requests are made to prove a claim for duty-free treatment under Subheading 9801.00.10. An example of the broker exercising responsible supervision and control for Subheading 9801.00.10 claims is providing proof of the broker’s communication with the importer on what is required for such claims. If it is found that the broker did not provide responsible supervision and control when preparing and filing the entry, then CBP may address that deficiency through the broker informed compliance process.

A proposed regulatory change will align 19 CFR 10.1 with TFTEA as referenced above. In the interim, for shipments valued over $2,500, the following documents may be requested from the importer to determine if the duty-free exemption under Subheading 9801.00.10 applies for either U.S. manufactured goods exported from and returned to the United States at any time, or foreign origin goods exported from the United States and returned within the 3-year time limit.
1) For either U.S. manufactured goods or foreign origin goods:

a) Declaration by Foreign Shipper indicating that the products were not advanced in value or improved in condition while outside the United States. A certificate from the master of a vessel stating that the products are returned without having been un-laden from the exporting vessel may be accepted in lieu of the declaration by the foreign shipper.

b) Declaration by the owner, importer, consignee, or agent having knowledge of the facts regarding the duty-free claim. If the owner or ultimate consignee is a corporation, such declaration may be signed by the president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer of the corporation, or may be signed by an employee or agent of the corporation who holds a power of attorney and a certification by the corporation that such employee or other agent has or will have knowledge of the pertinent facts.

2) For U.S. manufactured goods valued over $2,500 entered three years after the date of exportation that are not clearly marked with the name and address of the U.S. manufacturer, CBP may require, in addition to the declarations above, additional documents to substantiate the claim for duty-free treatment including a statement from the U.S. manufacturer verifying that the articles were made in the United States.

3) One of the following documents will be deemed sufficient proof of export from the United States for U.S. manufactured goods or foreign origin goods, provided the information contained therein proves an export from the United States:

a) Copy of the entry into the foreign country;

b) U.S. export invoice or bill of lading/airway bill; or,

c) Electronic Export Information (EEI) or the Automated Export System (AES) filing exemption.

Documentation may be requested to substantiate that the same articles exported from the United States are being returned. No substitution of the same type of articles under an inventory management system may occur. This merchandise must meet all of the requirements such that it was not advanced in value or changed in condition, and not processed under a drawback claim or Temporary Importation under Bond (TIB) entry.

4) For aircraft and aircraft parts and equipment returned to the United States by or for the account of an aircraft owner or operator and intended for use in his own aircraft operations, within or outside the United States, a CBP Form 3311, or its electronic equivalent may be used as stated in 19 CFR 10.1. The entrant must show on Customs Form 3311 or its electronic equivalent:

a) The name of the importing vessel or conveyance,

b) The date of its arrival,

c) A description of the articles,

d) The value of the articles, and

e) That the articles are intended for use by the aircraft owner or operator in his own aircraft operations.

5) For U.S. origin goods that were originally exported under a Department of State license that are now being re-imported, formal entry is required regardless of value along with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) Partnership Government Agency (PGA) message set.

6) For U.S. manufactured aircraft returning to the United States that were sold to a foreign government under the Foreign Military Sales Program, formal entry is required if any maintenance is being performed on the aircraft while in the United States. The repairs must be authorized via a specific case line in the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). The LOA is the sales agreement between the United States and the foreign government regarding the sale of munitions and other articles to the foreign government.

a) At the time of export of the aircraft, the EEI has to be filed for the maintenance of the aircraft.

7) For U.S. manufactured aircraft returning to the United States that were sold to a foreign government under the Foreign Military Sales program where modifications or enhancements will be made to the aircraft, the following is required for the import and subsequent export of the aircraft:

a) Formal entry is required.

b) At the time of export, the EEI submission is required, citing the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls export license (DSP-5).

If you have questions, please contact Ms. Kellee Gross, Branch Chief, Trade Processes, Commercial Operation, Revenue and Entry at [email protected].

Questions regarding the import of aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales program or DDTC licensing requirements should be referred to Mr. William J. Romero, Branch Chief, Cargo Release Policy at [email protected]. Any questions regarding the export of aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales program or DDTC licensing requirements should be referred to Mr. Brian Semeraro, Branch Chief, Outbound Enforcement Policy at [email protected].

Related Messages: 17-000046, 49132200


FTC Issues Rule to Deter Rampant Made in USA Fraud

Made in USA labels will finally mean goods were made in America

The Federal Trade Commission finalized a new rule that will crack down on marketers who make false, unqualified claims that their products are Made in the USA. Under the rule, marketers making unqualified Made in USA claims on labels should be able to prove that their products are “all or virtually all” made in the United States.

Commissioner Rohit Chopra was joined by Chair Lina M. Khan and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter in a statement, which noted the rule will especially benefit small businesses that rely on the Made in USA label, but lack the resources to defend themselves from imitators. The new rule codifies a broader range of remedies by the FTC, including the ability to seek redress, damages, penalties, and other relief from those who lie about a Made in USA label. It will enable the Commission for the first time to seek civil penalties of up to $43,280 per violation of the rule.

While stiff penalties are not appropriate in every instance, they send a strong signal to would-be violators that they abuse the Made in USA label at their peril.

“The final rule provides substantial benefits to the public by protecting businesses from losing sales to dishonest competitors and protecting purchasers seeking to purchase American-made goods,” said Commissioner Chopra. “More broadly, this long-overdue rule is an important reminder that the Commission must do more to use the authorities explicitly authorized by Congress to protect market participants from fraud and abuse.”

In 1994, after the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, Congress enacted legislation authorizing the FTC to seek penalties and other relief for Made in USA fraud, but only after the Commission issued a rule. However, there had long been a bipartisan consensus at the FTC that Made in USA fraud should not be penalized. The final Made in USA Labeling Rule changes course on the Commission’s longtime approach.

The rule does not impose any new requirements on businesses. Instead, it codifies the FTC’s longstanding enforcement policy statement regarding U.S.-origin claims. By codifying this guidance into a formal rule, the Commission can increase deterrence of Made in USA fraud and seek restitution for victims.

Over the course of the rulemaking, the FTC heard from hundreds of ranchers and shrimpers concerned about Made in the USA labels that mislead consumers. The Commission is pleased that in conjunction with this announcement USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack,  has announced that the USDA will complement the FTC’s efforts with its own initiative on labeling for products such as beef, and other agricultural products regulated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service.  

The Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for this rule in June 2020. The Commission received more than 700 comments on the proposed rule, most of which either were supportive, or sought changes that were not legally permissible. The final rule adds a provision allowing marketers to seek exemptions if they have evidence showing their unqualified Made-in-USA claims are not deceptive. . 

The Made in USA Labeling Rule, which will be published in the Federal Register, incorporates guidance set forth in the Commission’s previous Decisions and Orders and its 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims.  

Consistent with this guidance, the rule will prohibit marketers from including unqualified Made in USA claims on labels unless: 1) final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United States; 2) all significant processing that goes into the product occurs in the United States; and 3) all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States.

The rule applies only to labeling claims. The FTC will continue to bring enforcement action against marketers that make deceptive U.S.-origin claims falling outside the rule under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC is authorized to seek penalties for violations of the rule. It does not supersede, alter, or affect any other federal statute or regulation relating to country-of-origin labels.

The Commission vote approving publication of the final Made in USA Labeling Rule in the Federal Register was 3-2. Commissioner Christine Wilson also issued a dissenting statement on the rule, and another dissenting statement regarding the overall meeting agenda.

September 21, 2021 is the Deadline for Registering for the Oct 21, 2021 Customs Broker License Exam

The next Customs Broker License Exam (CBLE) will be offered both in-person and remotely on Thursday, October 21, 2021. Exam Registration opened on August 23, 2021 and will close on September 21, 2021. Also, all in-person registrants will receive a site selection instructional email from Pearson VUE no later than September 27, 2021.Site selection is on a FIRST COME FIRST SERVED basis. If you do not self-select, you will be assigned to a location based on your address zip code that may not be your first choice, particularly due to some sites being at full capacity.   

Click here for more information on the CBLE.

Click here to the Best Customs Broker Course​.