In the US, CBP serves as an ‘umbrella’ or ‘host’ agency on behalf of 47 additional regulatory agencies. The impact upon imports into the United States, is that the importer must not only address US Customs requirements, in addition, one must assure compliance with any of these regulatory agencies tasked with oversight of the products being imported. This potentially can increase the anticipated inherent complexity dramatically, inasmuch as one needs to consider carefully whether the product is regulated directly by the agency, and if so what declarations are appropriate.

Today, since CBP is the frontline agency, the customs criteria must be reviewed initially. In this context, the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule (see USHTSUSA) becomes integral to the import process, with agency requirements then considered and appropriate attributes updated.

ACE References

The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is the primary system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and the government determines admissibility. Through ACE as the Single Window, manual processes are streamlined and automated, paper is being eliminated, and the trade community is able to more easily and efficiently comply with U.S. laws and regulations.


The PGA Message set chapter is designed to convey the general Partner Government Agency (PGA) data needed to satisfy PGA reporting requirements. This data set will be used as the single record layout for all input from the trade for PGA data and will replace the Other Government Agency (OGA) data sets such as the FD, DT, and FC records. This set is intended to be submitted as part of another transmission such as an ACE Entry Summary Certified for Release or a Simplified Entry. At a minimum, if there is a PGA filing requirement for an HTS entry line, there would be one instance of the PGA Message set records submitted.

CBP is the frontline or ‘umbrella’ agency through which all other agencies must interface to obtain regulatory data – HTS assignment is just the beginning…

ACE PGA Forms List – Imports

The list identifies agency forms and/or data elements required at time of entry, and specifies whether the forms and/or data may be submitted via the PGA Message Set or Document Image System (DIS). In addition, this list identifies forms and documents which will continue to remain paper.

In order to file through PGA Message Set or DIS, filers must adhere to the rules, terms and conditions of the pertinent chapters of CBP and Trade Interface Requirements (CATAIR) and/or the technical requirements for transmissions using DIS. Agency specific requirements are also reflected in the CATAIR supplemental implementation guides (IGs). CATAIR and IG information is available at

The trade community is advised to check the list on a regular basis, as new PGA regulations may be promulgated which may require the use of PGA Message Set or DIS for the transmission of PGA data and/or forms. Additional details and how to receive automatic alerts are available through

ACE/ITDS PGA Message Set Process Flows

While the PGA information requirement by HTS tends to be dynamically updated with agencies frequently adjusting specific information needs, these process flows were initially created at the time of the PGA’s transition into ACE in 2016. (Caveat: be advised to consult data records provided through ABI software to importer / broker filing programs for most current specifications.)

These summaries with respect to certain agencies describe the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) being used by CBP and Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) as part of the ACE/ITDS pilot exercise in 2016. Such information may help deepen understanding of these agencies requirements and processes.

Note: the legacy International Trade Data System (ITDS) is an interagency program to establish a single window through which the data required by government agencies for international trade transactions may be submitted by the trade. Programmatically, today this all occurs in ACE.

Included at the above link are:

  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Lacey Act PGA Message Set Processing
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Lacey Act PGA Message Set Process Flow
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Pilot Summary
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) PGA Message Set Process Flow
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) PGA Message Set Processing
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) PGA Message Set Process Flow
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) PGA Message Set Process Flow
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Summary of the PGA Process for Filing in ACE
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Pilot Summary

ACE Partner Government Agency Message Set Summary – CBP

This Excel reference document may prove helpful in preparation of internal procedures, as it outlines the agency information requirements as matched against the CBP PGA Message Set. Provided with a CBP caveat: This document may qualify as a “guidance document” as set forth in Executive Order 13891 and interpretations thereof; such guidance documents are not binding and lack the force and effect of law, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is being posted to this portal to provide stakeholders with useful information.

Nonetheless, data elements and descriptions are listed, clarification whether certain items are mandatory or conditional, and additional notes may help deepen operational understanding and improve declarations.