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CPSC 'Beta' e-Filing Pilot to Test PGA Message Set Filing for 50 Imprters and Brokers, 9 Early Participants

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced that it is accepting requests to participate in an upcoming “beta” pilot for “e-filing” of its PGA message set on certificate of compliance data. The agency will accept as many as 50 participants, with a subset of nine importers and brokers that will begin working with the agency early to develop the IT infrastructure necessary for pilot filing, it said in a June 10 final rule.

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Selected pilot participants will “begin work promptly,” with discussions on data requirements and IT development beginning in fall 2022, though filing of the PGA message set itself is not expected until October 2023, CPSC said in the notice. “Participants advising CPSC and CBP during the IT development will have the opportunity to onboard and test filing via the Full PGA Message Set and the Product Registry and Reference PGA Message Set before October 2023,” the commission said.

Requests to participate in the beta pilot are due July 25, though CPSC will continue to consider applications until reaching its 50-participant capacity. CPSC is looking for a cross-section of small, medium and large companies to participate. Participants must import consumer products in CPSC’s jurisdiction, file in ACE or having a broker that files in ACE, and be willing to participate in the Trade Support Network, among other things, according to the notice.

The beta pilot follows an “alpha” pilot CPSC began in 2016, which ran about six months and was limited to only nine participants. Though the pilot was “successful,” its limited participation meant that “it was not feasible for CPSC to create algorithms to detect noncompliant products, or to develop the necessary internal enforcement procedures and processes for a permanent program,” CPSC said.

In the beta pilot, CPSC will “build upon the Alpha Pilot test” by developing and testing “the IT infrastructure necessary to support a full-scale eFiling requirement, inform CPSC’s potential rulemaking, and develop internal procedures to support enforcement,” CPSC said. Like the alpha pilot, participants will choose whether to file either using a product registry approach with a single identifier data element in ACE, or file the full set of data elements required by CPSC -- now seven, with the addition of two new data elements in the beta pilot, manufacture date and test date.

Some 300 Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheadings will be subject to e-filing in the beta pilot, covering ATVs; durable infant or toddler products, such as baby carriages, cribs, and safety gates; children’s furniture, backpacks, and school supplies; bicycle helmets; bicycles and other electric-powered cycles; clothing (sleepwear, outerwear, infant articles, potentially flammable adult clothing articles); drywall; fireworks; children’s jewelry; lighters; liquid nicotine; mattresses; pacifiers and rattles; rugs; and toys, CPSC said. “CPSC intends to flag the approximately 300 HTS codes that may require filing certificate data during the Beta Pilot test,” it said.

The subset of nine participants that will be working with CPSC on the technology development phase of the pilot will also comprise importers and brokers, who will in turn work with their software developers, said Arthur Laciak, e-filing program specialist at CPSC, in an interview at the American Association of Exporters and Importers annual conference June 15. That process will take about a year once CPSC gets started, during which CPSC’s IT project manager will be able to get their feedback on a more regular basis before CPSC rolls out its PGA message set and product registry, he said.

CPSC is concurrently working on a rulemaking to make the PGA message set permanent based on lessons learned during the alpha and beta pilots, Laciak said.

Through the beta pilot, CPSC will develop the technical capabilities it needs to process the five million messages it will get on the 300 tariff schedule subheadings subject to PGA message set filing, said John Blachere, international trade specialist at CPSC, also in an interview. The commission will need to develop its own IT infrastructure, and work with brokers and importers to develop theirs, to prepare for not only the large volume of data, but also hiccups like ACE outages and maintenance that could arise after e-filing becomes mandator­­­y.

CPSC is also drafting a “supplemental CATAIR guideline on filing certificate data through the PGA Message Set that describes the technical specifications for filing during the Beta Pilot test, as well as the Product Registry and Reference PGA Message Set,” CPSC said. The supplemental guide will be posted to CBP’s website and “will be made available before the initiation of the Beta Pilot test.”