In a Federal Register Notice on Oct. 6, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection published a 60-Day Notice and request for comments for a Global Business Identifier (GBI) Evaluative Proof of Concept (EPoC). This proof of concept aims to determine a single identifier solution that will uniquely discern main legal entity and ownership; specific business and global locations; and supply chain roles and functions. Via the notice, CBP is soliciting entry filers to participate in the proof of concept.

CBP has never been thrilled with the Manufacturer ID (MID) used to identify the producer or invoicing party for imported goods. There are many errors and inconsistencies in how the MID is reported. It also doesn't give CBP sufficient data to make an accurate risk assessment. What the agency needs is more information on who actually made the product, who is related to who, and the roles of the parties in the supply chain.

CBP is considering replacing the current MID with one of three other identifiers. They are:

  • The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), a 20-character identifier based on an international standard
  • The Global Location Number (GLN), a 13-digit identifier that can be customized to indicate supply chain roles, location, functions, etc. for relevant "origin-conferring" entities
  • The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), a 9-digit randomly generated identifier that records unique business establishments

The proof-of-concept test will involve shipments from ten countries and six groups of commodities. The countries include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, China, France, Mexico, Vietnam, Italy and Singapore. The groups of commodities are alcoholic beverages, medical devices, personal items, seafood, toys and U.S. goods returned.

In order to identify the best candidate, or combination of candidates, CBP is soliciting entry filers importing any of the subject goods from the group of countries. The volunteer filers must obtain and submit all three GBI identifiers as part of the application.

As part of the trial the proof-of-concept participants will also provide the following applicant information:

  • Company/legal entity name
  • Legal entity headquarters or manufacturing site address
  • Company phone number
  • Company website
  • Manufacturer/Shipper Identification Code (MID)
  • Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) identification number (optional)

ABI-qualified filers – both customs brokers and self-filers – will be required to complete a GBI enrollment via ABI prior to submitting the GBI identifiers on electronic CBP Form 3461 entries. The entry filers and their brokers will submit the GBI data for each of the following parties to transactions:

  • Manufacturer/producer
  • Shipper
  • Seller
  • Exporter
  • Shipper
  • Packager

GBI data for the first three parties is required; the last three are optional.

Comments were due to this proposed proof of concept by Dec. 6, 2021. We will see what comments were submitted and how many volunteers stepped forward.

The Federal Register notice stated that "By testing the identifiers CBP will take its first step in determining whether to amend regulations to mandate the GBI solution. Furthermore, CBP will understand the utility of collecting and/or combining the identifiers' data and will be able to make an informed decision on whether to mandate the use of the GBI solution as an alternative for the Manufacturer/Shipper Identification Code (MID)." It did not state how long the proof-of-concept test would last. Mandating the use of GBI data as an alternative to the MID would require another proposed rule in the Federal Register.

Bottom line is that this is coming but may take a while before becoming a reality.

Check out our new Digital Magazine Get the inside scoop on the Braumiller Law Group & Braumiller Consulting Group "peeps." Expertise in International Trade Compliance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.