Terms and definitions


Automated Clearinghouse. An electronic payment program that allows ABI filers to pay CBP duties, taxes, and fees with one electronic transaction.

Automated Commercial System. The system used by CBP to track, control, and process all commercial goods imported into the United States.

Antidumping/Countervailing Duty

Ad Valorem
A term from Latin meaning, “according to value.” Import duty applied as a percentage of the cargo’s dutiable value.

Air Waybill (AWB)
The forwarding agreement or carrying agreement between shipper and air carrier and is issued only in nonnegotiable form.

Automated Manifest System for air and ocean carriers.

Antidumping Duty
A tariff imposed to discourage sale of foreign goods, subsidized to sell at low prices detrimental to local manufacturers. Selling below home market prices or cost of manufacture with material injury to an U.S. manufacturer is called dumping. Antidumping duties are levied upon further importation of the merchandise.

Bill of Lading
A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company. It serves as a document of title, a contract of carriage and a receipt for goods. A negotiable instrument that allows the carrier to transport a merchandise shipment from a shipper to a consignee.

Bonded Freight
Freight moving under a bond to U.S. Customs or to the Internal Revenue Service, to be delivered only under stated conditions

Bonded Warehouse
A warehouse authorized by Customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.

Freight forwarder/broker compensation as specified by ocean tariff or contract

C&F Terms of Sale, or INCOTERMS
Obsolete, although heavily used, term of sale meaning “cargo and freight” whereby Seller pays for cost of goods and freight charges up to destination port. In July, 1990 the International Chamber of Commerce replaced C&F with CFR.

Abbreviation for “Currency Adjustment Factor.” A charge, expressed as a percentage of a base rate, that is applied to compensate ocean carriers of currency fluctuations.

Cargo Insurance
Also called “Marine Cargo Insurance”, it covers the insured against the accidental physical loss or damage from a covered external danger while in normal course of transit via all modes of transportation including air and truck. Cargo insurance does not cover lost time if replacement needs to be remanufactured, or any lost future sales.

Cargo Release
Delivery authorized by CBP permitting merchandise to enter the commerce of the United States.

Cargo Tonnage
Most ocean freight is billed on the basis of weight or measurement tons (W/M). Weight tons can be expressed in short tons of 2000 pounds, long tons of 2240 pounds or metric tons of 1000 kilos (2204.62 pounds). Measurement tons are usually expressed as cargo measurement of 40 cubic feet (1.12 meters) or cubic meters (35.3 cubic feet.)

A customs document permitting the holder to temporarily carry or send merchandise into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds. Any of various Customs documents required for crossing some international borders.

Caribbean Basin Initiative resulting from the Caribbean Economic Recovery Act.

CBP Form (CBPF) 3461, Entry/Immediate Delivery.

CBP Form (CBPF) 7501, Entry Summary

Certificate of Origin
A certified document showing the origin of goods; used in international commerce.

Abbreviation for “Container Freight Station.” A shipping dock where cargo is loaded (“stuffed”) into or unloaded (“stripped”) from containers. Generally, this involves less than container load shipments, although small shipments destined to same consignee are often consolidated. Container reloading from/to rail or motor carrier equipment is a typical activity. These facilities can be located in container

Commercial Invoice
The commercial invoice is the document from the seller to the buyer that includes very detailed information regarding the shipment; price, terms of sale, description, part numbers, delivery address, bill to party, etc.

Article shipped. For dangerous and hazardous cargo, the correct commodity identification is critical.

Consolidated Entry Summary
On a consolidated entry summary, an entry filer has combined or consolidated several releases into one entry summary package to be submitted for duty payment. It can be either a formal or informal entry. Consolidated entry summaries are identified by an alphabetic code C following the check digit of the entry number; e.g., 888/0967534-8C.

Continuous Bond
A continuous bond can be purchased on an annual basis and will cover all entries for the importer of record, through any port – providing the broker has a valid power of attorney from the importer or principal. The continuous bond renews annually until terminated by importer, principal, Customs Broker, or Surety. The minimum bond amount required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is $50,000 or 10% of the total duties, taxes and fees, plus all open increased duty bills and debit vouchers paid in the previous 12-months; whichever is greater

Cotton Fee
An assessment collected on imported upland cotton and products containing upland cotton. The class code is 056.

Countervailing Duty
Countervailing duty is levied when imported merchandise receives a bounty or grant when exported with material injury to an U.S. manufacturer.

Cargo Systems Messaging Service

CTPAT (Customs–Trade Partnership Against Terrorism)
A voluntary supply chain security partnership established by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in November 2001. Meeting the C–TPAT standards allows cargo owners faster processing through customs formalities and inspections

Customs Bond (see also Continuous Customs Bond and Single Entry Bond)
A guarantee to Customs that the importer will pay all duties, taxes, and fees associated with the importation of commercial goods into the United States, in full and in a timely manner. This guarantee is typically granted by a surety or bond company to the importer or principal.

Customhouse Broker
A person or firm, licensed by the treasury department of their country when required, engaged in entering and clearing goods through Customs for a client (importer)

Government agency charged with enforcing the rules passed to protect the country’s import and export revenues.

Customs Entry
All countries require that the importer make a declaration on incoming foreign goods. The importer then normally pays a duty on the imported merchandise. The importer’s statement is compared against the carrier’s vessel manifest to ensure that all foreign goods are properly declared.

Customs Invoice
A form requiring all data in a commercial invoice along with a certificate of value and/or a certificate of origin. Required in a few countries (usually former British territories) and usually serves as a seller’s commercial invoice.

Delivery Order
Instructions given to the trucking company that will deliver the freight to the ultimate consignee.

A penalty charge against shippers or consignees for delaying the carrier’s equipment or vessel beyond the allowed free time. The free time and demurrage charges are set forth in the charter party or freight tariff.

Drawback is a refund of duties paid upon certain imported goods that are manufactured and re-exported, never used within the United States and re-exported, or never used within the United States and destroyed under CBP supervision.

Charge made for local hauling by dray or truck. Same as Cartage.

Ad valorem and/or specific rates assessed on the entered value of merchandise entering the United States and other countries.

Electronic Export Information (EEI)
Electronic Export Information (EEI) is the new official name of data filed in the AES and is the electronic equivalent to the data previously reported via the paper SED form.Federal Trade Regulation (FTR) mandates that all export information for which a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) is required must now be filed electronically through the Automated Export System (AES) only. Paper SED form (7525-V) is now obsolete.

Order to restrict the hauling of freight.

Documentation required by and submitted to CBP by an entry filer to secure release of imported merchandise from CBP custody. The entry package usually consists of a CBPF-3461 or CBPF-3461A, the invoice, a packing list and any special release forms including other Government agency forms.

Entry Number
The unique numeric identifier referencing the documentation filed with CBP to secure release and duty payment of imported merchandise.

Entry Summary
CBP Form CBPF-7501. The entry summary describes and properly codes the imported merchandise. The entry filer has 10 working days after release of the merchandise to file an entry summary and pay whatever duties, fees, and taxes are due.

Filer or Filer Code
A unique 3-position alphanumeric identifier assigned by Headquarters to ABI participants who file their own entries.

Facilities Information and Resources Management System (FIRMS) code identifies the CBP facility where goods are located.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)
Secured areas legally outside of a nation’s CBP territory. A free port in a country divorced from Customs authority but under government control. Merchandise, except that which is prohibited, may be stored in the zone without being subject to import duty regulations.

Free Trade Zone (FTZ)
A port designated by the government of a country for duty–free entry of any non–prohibited goods. Merchandise may be stored, displayed, used for manufacturing, etc., within the zone and re–exported without duties.

Freight Forwarding
A person whose business is to act as an agent on behalf of the shipper to book reservations. In the United States, freight forwarders are now licensed by the FMC as “Ocean Intermediaries.”

General Agreement on Tariff and Trade

General Order (G.O.)
Premises owned or leased by the U.S. Government and used for the storage of merchandise undergoing CBP examination or under seizure, or pending final release from CBP custody. Unclaimed merchandise stored in such premises is held under “general order”.

Gross Weight
Entire weight of goods, packaging and freight car or container, ready for shipment. Generally, 80,000 pounds maximum container, cargo and tractor for highway transport.

Generalized System of Preferences.

Harmonized System (HTS)
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Code System in ACS.

Harbor Maintenance Fee. Ad valorem (according to value) fee assessed on cargo imports and admissions into foreign trade zones: 0.125% of the value of the cargo, paid quarterly, except for imports which are paid at the time of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection deposits the HMF collections into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The funds are made available, subject to appropriation, to the Army Corps of Engineers for the improvement and maintenance of U.S. ports and harbors.

House Bill Number (HAWB)
An alphanumeric identifier that references an individual cargo shipment consolidated under a master bill of lading.

Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated published by the U.S. International Trade Commission. An international goods classification system for describing cargo in international trade under a single commodity–coding scheme. It is organized into 99 chapters arranged in 22 sections. Sections encompass an industry (e.g., Section XI, Textiles and Textile Articles); chapters encompass the various materials and products of the industry (e.g., Chapter 50, Silk; Chapter 55, Manmade Staple Fibers; Chapter 57, Carpets).The basic code contains four–digit headings and six–digit subheadings. Many countries add digits for Customs tariff and statistical purposes. In the United States, duty rates will be the eight–digit level; statistical suffixes will be at the ten–digit level. The Harmonized System (HS) is the current U.S. tariff schedule (TSUSA) for imports and is the basis for the ten–digit Schedule B export code.

HTS Number or Tariff Number
An 8- or 10-position alphanumeric code assigned to various commodities listed in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated.

Import License
A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods.

Import Specialist
CBP officer responsible for the admissibility, examination and appraisement, classification, liquidation, and statistical reporting of entries.

The act of transporting a cargo shipment from a port of unlading to another port for entry or disposition under bond.

The recognized abbreviation for the International Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale. These terms were last amended, effective July 1, 1990.

Informal Entry
Informal entries are filed for personal shipments of any value, for certain commercial shipments valued at $1250 or less and for certain textile shipments valued at $250 or less. Informal entries can be filed on the Entry Summary, CBPF-7501, and are identified by the numeric entry type code 11 in block 2. They can also be filed on an Informal Entry, CBPF-5119A.

Informal Merchandise Fee
An assessment for Informal entry summaries. The class code is 311.

I.T. (In-Transit Entry)
Allows foreign merchandise arriving at one port to be transported in bond to another port, where a superseding entry is filed

Internal Revenue Service tax. IRS tax is paid in addition to duty on shipments of alcohol and tobacco.

ISO Code
A 2-position alphabetic International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code for countries. For example, the ISO code for Mexico is MX, while the code for Spain is ES. A complete listing is included in Schedule C of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS).

Importer Security Filing

Immediate Transportation. In-bond movement transporting a cargo shipment from the port of unlading to the in-land port of destination under bond for entry or disposition.

Liquidation Date
The date an entry has been liquidated by CBP.

Manual Surcharge Fee
A surcharged fee assessed for any formal entry submitted by an ABI filer who is not certified for Cargo Release processing in at least one port location. The class code is 500.

Manufacture ID or MID
Manufacturer identification code constructed using specific segments of the manufacturer’s or shipper’s, name and address. Refer to CBP Directive 3500-13 dated November 24, 1986, for instructions on determining the manufacturer ID.

Merchandise Processing Fee. A charge imposed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, on an ad valorem (according to value) basis. MPF is 0.3464% of the entered value; Minimum $25, maximum $485.

North American Free Trade Agreement. A preferential trade agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States covering trade in goods, technical barriers to trade, government procurement, investment, services and related matters, intellectual property, administrative, institutional and other provisions. The objectives of NAFTA are to eliminate barriers to trade, facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and services, promote conditions of fair competition, increase investment opportunities, provide adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, create effective procedures for the implementation and application of this agreement, and to establish a framework for further trilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation to expand and enhance the benefits of this agreement within the territories of the signatory countries.

A 2-position numeric identifier that identifies each CBP port of entry.

Port of Entry
The port where the entry is filed.

Port of Unlading
The U.S. port of call in which cargo shipments are discharged.

Under a quota, only a certain amount of the designated merchandise can be entered into the commerce of the United States during a specific time period. Under an absolute quota, once the specified amount of merchandise has been entered, no more can be entered until the next opening. Under a tariff-rate quota, a certain amount may be entered at a reduced rate of duty. Once that amount has been entered, a higher rate of duty is charged.

A program for electronic entry filers which allows the transmission of entry/ entry summary data from one location for cargo arriving at a second location in which the filer is not located (if an importer) or is not licensed (if a broker).

Automated method of designating imported merchandise for examination by a CBP inspector or commodity specialist.

Single Entry Bond
A single entry bond is generally in an amount not less than the total entered value, plus any duties, taxes and fees. The minimum amount for a single transaction bond is $100.00.

Terms of Sale
The point at which sellers have fulfilled their obligations so the goods in a legal sense could be said to have been delivered to the buyer. They are shorthand expressions that set out the rights and obligations of each party when it comes to transporting the goods. Following, are the thirteen terms of sale in international trade as Terms of Sale reflected in the recent amendment to the International chamber of Commerce Terms of Trade (INCOTERMS), effective July 1990: exw, fca, fas, fob, cfr, cif, cpt, cip, daf, des, deq, ddu and ddp.

Vessel Code
A unique alphanumeric code that positively identifies a specific vessel.

Not sure how much would it cost you?

Contact us for a free quote NOW!