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Protest Filing Best Practices and US Customs (CBP)

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Over the past two years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen a marked increase in the number of protest filings. To assist CBP with processing protests, CBP is recommending that protest filers upload a spreadsheet into the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Protest Module containing certain data elements for CBP’s use in updating the entry summaries for approved protests.

As was referenced during CBP’s December 9, 2020 Protest Webinar, the submission of a spreadsheet containing the entry and entry line changes for a protest is a best practice allowing a more streamlined process to review and decide protests. Protest filers are still required to provide the ‘Reason for Protest’, a narrative that is specific, clear, and concise as to the overall claim of the protest. The spreadsheet is not required to be submitted with the protest; however, CBP highly recommends that the trade community submit a spreadsheet to assist CBP.

The spreadsheet should be uploaded into the ACE Protest Module using MS Excel, CSV, or TXT format and be titled “Protest Details Spreadsheet”. This will allow the spreadsheet to be easily identified from other supporting documentation in the Protest Module. Protests filed in paper with a spreadsheet at the Port should be formatted and titled the same way. The first four columns on the spreadsheet will remain static.These first four spreadsheet column headings will contain the Entry Number in the first column, the Entry Line Number in the second column, the original entry data that is being protested (Change From) in the third column, and the new change based on the protest (Change To) in the fourth column. Filers may add additional columns of information after column four if needed.

Additionally, since each Center of Excellence and Expertise specializes in separate industries, additional data may be useful to expedite protest processing. Importers should work with the Center assigned to the Importer of Record of the protest entries to determine the additional information that may assist the Center.

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