What is Manifest Confidentiality?
Manifest confidentiality or manifest confidentiality request holds the primary purpose of keeping sensitive manifest information or import data, including “identifying marks and numbers” confidential or secret from the public.
Why does the public have access to my import data/ manifest information?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives access to nearly all information and records maintained or developed by U.S. Federal Agencies. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection falls into that category and is thus required to make available your manifest or import data to anyone that requests it. Consequently, U.S. companies are given the right to request that their import data or other private company information is kept in confidentiality or private.
Why should I make a manifest confidentiality request?
With your import data available for the general public to acquire, specialized companies like Import Genius, Datamyne, Panjiva, and others fetch and collect this information and later sell it to your own competitors, logistics firms, and customers. Often it is most important for the importer to keep private some important details like the product manufacturer, from the public. If and when this information is gathered by firms to be sold to competitors, competitions between companies grows stiffer.
How often do I need to make a Manifest Confidentiality Request?
Each time you make a Manifest Confidentiality Request, it keeps your sensitive manifest information and import data confidential from the public for a period of two years. So you should make these requests every two years for your company.
What Information does the public know if I don’t make a Manifest Confidentiality Request?
The following information becomes available to the public if your company doesn’t have an active Manifest Confidentiality Request in place:
How Can I File a Manifest Confidentiality Request?
You can file your Manifest Confidentiality Request by either writing a letter request to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection or hiring a professional Customs Broker to do the job for you. The second is often the best option, as these brokers are trained and licensed individuals, so mistakes are less likely to occur in this case.