ACE 2.0 Can Set 'Level Playing Field' for All Countries, CBP Official Says
ACE 2.0 has the potential to develop into "a true international single window for companies that are transnational," with global interoperability setting a "level playing field" for all countries because no one country will control anything, Vincent Annunziato, director of the CBP Business Transformation and Innovation Division, said Sept. 14.
Speaking during CBP's ACE Technical Forum, Annunziato said that part of the importance of developing ACE 2.0 is that the agency is up against major private sector players as it sets interoperability standards going forward. "We want to make sure that customs' interests are at the forefront at a worldwide level and we don't want anything being hijacked," he said.
"We are keeping the standards open so that no one company or no one government rules anything," Annunziato said. "It's a truly open standard."
He also said that while there may be different data requirements between countries, ACE 2.0 will use the JSON format, which will help make the software multilingual. "You can data map into your own native language across the board without interpretive loss," Annunziato said. This means that ACE 2.0 will be like "one parking spot" where you can communicate with not just CBP but with "other countries," he said.
CBP officials at the forum also discussed the ongoing global business identifier (GBI) pilot and CBP's plan to transition the GBI program to the trade modernization division. As part of that effort, CBP official Steven Zaccaro encouraged people to sign up for the program.
"We're looking at how we can make GBI beneficial to the trade, and so your participation in that and developing the software is going to be a big part of that," Zaccaro said. "The information that we get from these global business identifiers is really something that helps us look at a secure supply chain, and we need more and more of that as we move forward." Previously, CBP said it would be modifying its pilot testing for a new GBI to replace the manufacturer ID so that participants in the test can use any of three entity identifiers, and extended the pilot to February 2024 (see 2307200036).
One software developer attending the online forum said that one concern he has with signing up for GBI testing is that the "specs are subject to change." This means there could be a lot of work to "code, deploy, test, document, and then redo it if this changes," the software developer said. Someone else on the call said that the GBI program is still being advertised as an "electronic proof of concept" and that until CBP commits to a final spec, it will be hard to convince companies to sign up for the GBI program.
Valla Olliver, deputy executive director of CBP's Cargo Systems Program Directorate, responded by saying that the requirements on the cargo release side are not changing. Olliver said that what Zaccaro and others are working on is how to make the input of these numbers simpler for the trade.
Zaccaro said that CBP expects to publish another Federal Register notice after the GBI pilot ends. He hopes that CBP will be able to "reduce the burden going forward," in regard to the evaluative proof of concept. However, what the system accepts today has not changed, Zaccaro said.
"Most recently, I heard we'd have as many as 2,000 GBI transactions that came in," Zaccaro said. "It's out there, it is being used, and we'll do our best to limit the changes as we move forward."