Customs tests money tracker

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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Customs and Border Protection officials have launched a three-month pilot test for certain features of the Automated Commercial Environment, which will provide a single interface between the trade community and the federal government to speed trade and combat terrorism.

New monthly account and payment capabilities, ledger integration, notifications, alerts and other enhancements are being tested. Participants would receive a monthly listing of their daily account statements and make one monthly payment via the Automated Clearing House electronic funds transfer system, similar to commercial credit card payment processes.

"The launch of periodic payment and other account revenue capabilities marks a key period of growth for ACE and CBP," Commissioner Robert Bonner said in a prepared statement. "This is another important step toward enhancing our ability to both protect America's borders and expedite legitimate trade. The ACE will provide CBP personnel with the information they need to decide what should be targeted because it is a security threat, and what should be expedited because it complies with U.S. laws, before a shipment reaches the border."

About 350 Customs employees — including employees from CBP's National Finance Center, import and entry specialists, account managers and client representatives — and trade community representatives are participating in the pilot.

Participants will be connected through a centralized ACE Secure Data Portal, which was described by participants as essentially a customized computer screen, similar to a Web site homepage. More than 145 importer and broker accounts are online and accessible through the portal, representing more than 25 percent of the value of U.S. imports.

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