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CBP Harmonises Vehicle Documentation Requirements, Allows Electronic Filing

CBP and the Treasury Department have issued a final rule relating to the importation into the United States of certain vehicles and engines under the Clean Air Act in order to harmonise the documentation requirements applicable to different classes of vehicles and engines that are subject to the CAA’s emission standards. The rule further amends the regulations to permit importers to file the required EPA declaration forms with CBP electronically and modifies non-substantive provisions to update regulatory citations and delete obsolete provisions. The rule will enter into force on 26 January.

The CAA prohibits the importation of new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines unless they are covered by an EPA certificate of conformity. The EPA requires the submission of certain documents for purposes of compliance with the CAA: Declaration Form 3520-1 for passenger vehicles, highway motorcycles and their corresponding engines, and Declaration Form 3520-21 for heavy-duty highway engines and non-road engines (gas, diesel, marine, stationary), including those already installed in vehicles or equipment.

CBP regulations currently require importers of goods covered by form 3520-1 to file the requisite information at the time of entry but provide an exemption for imports that are covered by an EPA certificate of conformity and labelled accordingly. Importers of goods covered by form 3520-21 are only required to prepare the form and keep it on file for at least five years from the date of entry, but there is no exemption for goods covered by an EPA certificate of conformity.

CBP is now conforming these entry filing requirements so that importers of stationary, non-road or heavy-duty highway engines (including those incorporated into vehicles or equipment) will have to file form 3520-21 at the time of entry (except when filing a weekly entry from a foreign trade zone) unless they hold a valid EPA certificate of conformity and the engines are labelled to show compliance with applicable emission requirements. Additionally, the rule will allow the electronic filing of forms 3520-1 and 3520-21 in the Automated Commercial Environment, although they could also still be filed on paper with a paper entry filing at the time of entry or when filing a weekly entry from an FTZ.

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