Following regulatory changes by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the reporting of certain vegetable and specialty crop imports, the filing of Section 8e requirements through U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Commercial Environment system is being made mandatory.
Section 8e Requirements
Section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 requires that specific fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop imports into the United States meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, and maturity standards as those applicable to domestic products covered by Federal marketing orders.
The Marketing Order and Agreement Division (MOAD) under the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA enforces the Federal marketing orders for fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops, as well as compliance with import regulations.
It is the responsibility of the importer of record to have each shipment imported inspected for grade and quality by AMS. Since 2016, all imported commodities subject to AMS Section 8e regulation must be presented for inspection to AMS (or Federal-State partners) as separate lots corresponding to each individual Customs Entry Number.
Starting January 15, 2022, the Section 8e information will be transmitted through ACE, with full implementation expected by March 1, 2022.
In guidance issued last year, MOAD advised that loads of potatoes, onions, and open field/field-grown tomatoes can be certified as meeting Section 8e import inspection requirements either prior to import into the U.S. or upon arrival at destination within the country, provided that certification is completed prior to the load entering into domestic commerce.
Only the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, authorized Canadian – Partners in Quality (CPIQ) for potatoes only, and Federal or Federal/State USDA/AMS licensed inspectors can certify the loads as meeting the grade, size, quality, and maturity import requirements.
Note: The CFIA E-2, E-3, and C-PIQ (for potatoes only), and the USDA FVE300. FV-E301, SC-300, and SC-301 are the only acceptable inspection certificates to certify the loads as meeting the grade, size, quality, and maturity import requirements.
Canadian exporters of potatoes, onions, and tomatoes into the U.S. will now be required to enter the CFIA certificate number and an electronic image of the CFIA certificate into CBP’s ACE system, which will transmit said certificate number and image to MOAD.
Update: Implementation Delayed
In a recent bulletin, CBP advised that the mandatory transmission of the USDA’s Section 8e requirements—applicable to avocados, grapefruit, kiwifruit, onions, potatoes, table grapes, field-grown tomatoes, pistachios, dates, hazelnuts (filberts), olives, raisins, and walnuts—through the ACE system has been delayed until February 28, 2022. Starting on this date, ACE will reject any entries if the HTS codes are flagged with AM4 and if there is no corresponding AMS MO PGA message set provided.