COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TEXTILE AGREEMENTS

Announcement of the Paperless ELVIS (Electronic Visa Information System) Requirement for Certain Cotton, Wool and ManMade Fiber Textile Products Produced or Manufactured in Singapore

December 23, 1997.

AGENCY: Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA).


ACTION: Issuing a directive to the Commissioner of Customs eliminating the paper visa requirement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 1998.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janet Heinzen, International Trade Specialist, Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-4212.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:


Authority:
Section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854); Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended.


On December 17, 1997 the Governments of the United States and Singapore signed the Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) Arrangement. This arrangement provides for electronic transmission of visa information to the U.S. Customs Service by the Government of Singapore for textile products exported to the United States which describes the shipment and includes the visa number assigned to the shipment. The transmission certifies the country of origin and authorizes the shipment to be charged against any applicable quota.

Effective on January 1, 1998, for entry into the United States the paper visa requirement is eliminated for textile products, produced or manufactured in Singapore and exported on or after January 1, 1998. The Government of Singapore must issue an ELVIS transmission for each shipment of textile products, as defined in the Arrangement, for textile products exported on or after January 1, 1998.




In the letter published below, the Chairman of CITA directs the Commissioner of Customs to eliminate the paper visa requirement and to require the Government of Singapore to issue an ELVIS transmission for shipments of certain textile products, produced or manufactured in Singapore and exported to the United States on or after January 1, 1998.

A description of the textile and apparel categories in terms of HTS numbers is available in the CORRELATION: Textile and Apparel Categories with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (see Federal Register notice 62 FR 66057, published on December 17, 1997). Also see 47 FR 6683, published on February 16, 1982; 60 FR 56576, published on November 9, 1995; 61 FR 65548, published on December 13, 1996; 61 FR 69082, published on December 31, 1996; and 61 FR 46952, published on September 5, 1997.

Interested persons are advised to take all necessary steps to ensure that textile products that are entered into the United States for consumption, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, will meet the visa requirements set forth in the letter published below to the Commissioner of Customs.

J. Hayden Boyd,
Acting Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.


Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements
December 23, 1997.


Commissioner of Customs,
Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC 20229.


Dear Commissioner: This directive amends, but does not cancel, the directive issued to you on February 10, 1982, as amended, by the Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, that directed you to prohibit entry of certain cotton, wool and man-made fiber textile products, produced or manufactured in Singapore for which the Government of Singapore has not issued an appropriate export visa.

Effective on January 1, 1998, the paper visa will no longer be required for the entry of shipments of textile products, produced or manufactured in Singapore and exported to the United States on or after January 1, 1998.

Under the terms of section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854), Executive Order 11651 of March 3, 1972, as amended, the Uruguay Round Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC); and pursuant to the Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) Arrangement dated December 17, 1997 between the Governments of the United States and the Republic of Singapore, you are directed to prohibit, effective on January 1, 1998, entry into the Customs territory of the United States (i.e., the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) for consumption and withdrawal from warehouse for consumption of cotton, wool and man-made fiber textile products in Categories 200-239, 300-369, 400-469 and 600-670, including part categories, produced or manufactured in Singapore and exported on or after January 1, 1998 for which the Government of Singapore has not transmitted an appropriate ELVIS (Electronic Visa Information System) transmission fully described below. Should additional categories or part categories become subject to import quota the entire category(s) or part category(s) shall be included in the coverage of this arrangement.


An ELVIS message must accompany each commercial shipment of the aforementioned textile products.

A.Each ELVIS message will include the following information:
i.The visa number. The visa number shall be in the standard nine digit letter format, beginning with one numeric digit for the last digit of the year of export, followed by the two character alpha country code specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (the code for Singapore is ``SG''), and a six digit numerical serial number identifying the shipment; e.g., 8SG123456.

ii.The date of issuance. The date of issuance shall be the day, month and year on which the visa was issued.

iii.The correct category(s), part category(s), quantity(s) and unit(s) of quantity in the shipment as set forth in the U.S. Department of Commerce Correlation and in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, annotated or successor documents. Quantities must be stated in whole numbers. Decimals or fractions will not be accepted.

iv.The manufacturer ID number (MID). The MID shall begin with `SG,' followed by the first three characters from each of the first two words of the name of the manufacturer, followed by the largest number on the address line up to the first four digits, followed by three letters from the city name.

B.Entry of a shipment shall not be permitted:

i.if an ELVIS transmission has not been received for the shipment from Singapore;
ii.if the ELVIS transmission for that shipment is missing any of the following:

a.visa number
b.category or part category
c.quantity
d.unit of measure
e.date of issuance
f.manufacturer ID number

iii.if the ELVIS transmission for the shipment does not match the information supplied by the importer or the Customs broker acting as an agent on behalf of the importer with regard to any of the following:

a.visa number
b.category or part category
c.unit of measure

iv.if the quantity being entered is greater than the quantity transmitted.

v.if the visa number has previously been used, except in the case of a split shipment, or canceled, except when an entry has already been made using the visa number.

C.A new, correct ELVIS transmission from Singapore is required before a shipment that has been denied entry for one of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph B.i-v will be released.

D.Visa waivers will only be considered for paragraph B.i., if the shipment qualifies as a one-time special purpose shipment that is not part of an ongoing commercial enterprise. A visa waiver may be issued by the Department of Commerce at the request of the Embassy in Washington for the Government of Singapore. A visa waiver only waives the requirement to present a transmission at entry, it does not waive any quota requirements.

E.Shipments will not be released for twenty-four hours or 1 calendar day in the event of a system failure. If system failure exceeds twenty-four hours or 1 calendar day, for the remaining period of the system failure the U.S. Customs Service will only release shipments that have been authorized by the Government of Singapore through the use of the visa waiver procedures.




F.If import quotas are in force, U.S. Customs Service shall charge only the actual quantity in the shipment to the correct category limit. If a shipment from Singapore has been allowed entry into the commerce of the United States with an incorrect ELVIS transmission, or no ELVIS transmission, or system failure, and redelivery is requested but cannot be made, and after the Government of Singapore does not issue a new ELVIS transmission or request a visa waiver (if applicable), the shipment will be charged to the correct category limit whether a waiver is provided or a new ELVIS message is transmitted.

Other Provisions.

A.The date of export is the actual date the merchandise finally leaves the country of origin. For merchandise exported by carrier, this is the day on which the carrier last departs the country of origin.
B.Merchandise imported for the personal use of the importer and not for resale, regardless of value, and properly marked commercial sample shipments valued at U.S.$250 or less, do not require an ELVIS transmission for entry and shall not be charged to agreement levels, if applicable.


The actions taken concerning the Government of Singapore with respect to imports of textiles and textile products in the foregoing categories have been determined by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements to involve foreign affairs functions of the United States. Therefore, these directions to the Commissioner of Customs, which are necessary for the implementation of such actions, fall within the foreign affairs exception to the rulemaking provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). This letter will be published in the Federal Register.

Sincerely,

J. Hayden Boyd,
Acting Chairman, Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.



[FR Doc. 97-0000 Filed 0-00-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-DR-F