Change is afoot at XthetaThings are changing for the better

Over the next few months, we’re going to be rolling out a variety of changes that are targeted at improving your experience using our software.  

New Website

If you haven’t had a chance yet – check out our new website!  From integrated product information to important support resources, it’s been completely redesigned to make it easier to find the information you need.  Plus, we've integrated a new feature called “My Xtheta” which puts essential resources at your fingertips.

New Xcb portal

You may have heard that we've done a substantial rewrite of the Xcb web portal.  This new version will be rolling out shortly.  So, over the next few weeks we’re going to be doing a series of webinars to help showcase some of the features in the newest version of Xcb.   Each webinar will cover a different topic related to the newest version of the software.

Here’s the schedule and topics:  

  • Thursday 5/21 at 2pm – Overview & Events/Rules
    What’s new in the system overall (how the UI has changed, integrated help, etc).   Introduction to the new events system as well as new notification options like text messaging and “personal” event rules.
  • Thursday 5/28 at 2pm – Imaging
    Imaging upload & edit, import from email, & workflows.  New features that will help you go paperless.
  • Thursday 6/4 at 2pm – Reporting
    Additional reporting options including customers, contacts, event/event rule setup.   Filtering on any field, download live in browser, faster results
  • Thursday 6/11 at 2pm – ACE PGA status update
    Take a little detour from the new webapp features and find out where things are at with the new PGAs and ACE
  • Thursday 6/18 at 2pm – Web tracking, mobile views, & dashboard
    Keeping track of multiple versions, having a single view of your data, adding dashboard widgets
  • Thursday 6/25 at 2pm – Securing your system
    Setting up single sign on, granting/denying access to specific areas or items in the system, C-TPAT & Xcb security

Full call-in / sign up details will be posted on our website.    We’ll also plan to record the webinars for those who can’t make it.

ACE PGA statusWhat you really need to know about ACE PGAs

Over the last 5 months, we have spent many hours working with CBP and the PGA's to help build the Implementation Guides for each agency.   By the end of May, CBP expects to publish the guides for all the agencies that will be live on November 1st.  Pilots will be announced in Federal Register notices, and we expect many will start in July.

We’ll keep our ACE guide updated throughout this process so you can better prepare for any changes that may impact you.  Once CBP starts publishing the new HTS flags for the agencies, we’ll also release a report that you can use to see the effects on your company based on past filings.

Below is a list of agencies that should be live on November 1st.  We are specifically concentrating on agencies that are listed in bold.  If you have a particular interest in one of the less common PGA’s please let us know!

AgencyIG Review StatusSubstantial process changeDirect paper replacement
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) In process
APHIS – Lacey Complete
APHIS – non-Lacey Complete
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Complete
Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Just started
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Complete
Directorate of Defense Controls (DDTC) Complete
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) Not started -
Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) Not started -
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Complete
Agricultural Marketing Service Complete -
Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Complete

* FCC specific requirements seem to be going away as part of ACE.

Food and Drug Administration

There will be substantial changes to the way FDA data is filed.  FDA will now have different screens by commodity type.  These types are:

  • Biologics  
  • Combined Products  
  • Cosmetics
  • Medical Devices  
  • Drugs  
  • Food (spec not finished)
  • Radiation Emitting Products  
  • Tobacco  
  • Veterinary Drugs

Be prepared to key in data from any of the forms that currently get sent on paper such as the 2877 for radiological device.  You will need to transmit permit information, active ingredient breakdowns along with your existing product code and quantities.  The affirmations are still there but have a lot of code changes.

You will also have to identify multiple parties associated with the transaction. FDA will no longer use the MID at all so you will have to identify by FEI #, DUNS# or possibly just a name and address.  Even if you have the appropriate code you will still need to transmit the name and address as well.

APHIS - Non Lacey programs

This is going to be a very heavy lift as it is all filed on paper now (at least in theory).  But, thankfully there is a (large) very well written guide that includes sequence diagrams and business rules for most situations.

Just like FDA they have broken it down by agency program as below:                                        

  • Animal Care
  • Plant Protection & Quarantine
  • Veterinary Services  
  • Biotechnology

Every form and certificate used will require some key entry.  You will also have to report multiple parties to the transaction.

Other PGAs

Here’s a quick overview of the information requirements for some of the other PGAs:

AgencyForms / Program Components

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Vehicles & Engines
  • Pesticides              
  • Ozone depleting substances

Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

  • Permit              
  • Release of Tobacco Products, Cigarette Papers, or Cigarette Tubes without Payment of Excise Tax              
  • Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) ID Number              
  • Foreign Certificates              
  • Effective Tax Rates              
  • Release of Distilled Spirits, Wine, or Beer in Bulk Containers without Payment of Federal Excise Tax  
  • Large Cigar Sales Price

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

DOT HS7 Form

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

  • Highly Migratory Species              
  • Antarctic Marine Living resources              
  • Tuna Tracking and verification

Agricultural Marketing Service

  • Import Request Shell Eggs
  • Request for Inspection, Reinsertion, Appeal Inspection
  • Importers exempt commodity
  • Notice of intent to request inspection

Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)

9540 Form

CB System mainstream support has ended Our legacy import/export software is being retired

The CB system is an older software product that Xtheta maintained in accordance with a third party license agreement since 2007.   On November 17, 2014, we started phasing out this older software since it did not support ACE and will no longer be able to file entries as of November 1, 2015 when Customs disables ACS.

If you are still using the CB system, please contact to upgrade to Xcb.  Xcb is a fully ACE certified solution that is a drop in replacement for the old software.

November 17, 2014

No further enhancements: Current and future updates to the CB system did not include any enhancements; only bugfixes for existing issues.

January 1, 2015

Only critical bug fixes:  Current and future updates to the CB system only included bugfixes for critical issues (i.e. system down, or to maintain compliance with Customs ACS specific requirements).

March 31, 2015

End of mainstream support:  Support is only being provided for user account maintenance and critical system failures.  You will need to enroll in an extended-life support agreement by May 29, 2015 if you wish to continue receiving standard support for the system.

October 31, 2015

End of life:  Customs requires all entries to be filed using ACE as of November 1, 2015

Windows 2003 no longer supported The newest version of Xcb requires 2008 or higher

As of July 2015, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 2003.  After that date, any Windows 2003 systems will not get software upgrades or essential security updates.

This poses a significant security risk for any companies that haven’t upgraded to a supported operating system by then.  Additionally, Windows 2008 and higher have substantial stability and speed enhancements that just are not available on 2003.

So, the newest version of Xcb does not support Windows 2003 and cannot install or run on any system running this outdated operating system.   If you’re running your own Xcb web server, please ensure you’ve upgraded to Windows 2008 or higher to ensure that you continue to get Xcb updates.