Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CBP Extends a Helping Hand

If you were in customs compliance during the Clinton-years, you might remember Customs and Border Protection taking the public position that it was in the business of facilitating legitimate trade and that it would be a "kinder and gentler" agency. U.S. government people actually said that, or possibly I dreamed it. To me, it is real.

That was before 9/11/2001, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the shift toward border security as an existential issue of national security. By which I do not mean to denigrate that position at all. CBP's security job is important.

Today CBP announced a possibly small program that is 100% in line with the kinder, gentler agency of yore and helps to facilitate U.S. exports. That's good for the economy.

The program is the opportunity for exporters to request assistance on tariff classifications and customs valuation in other customs territories. Here is the pre-publication notice. It should show up in the Federal Register tomorrow (meaning June 18, 2015).

This notice seems to be formalizing a practice that previously existed. If a U.S. importer or exporter identified inconsistent treatment in another country or customs territory, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has always had the ability to bring that issue to the attention of the proper WCO committee. What is new is that CBP is publicizing that this opportunity exists as a means of fostering greater collaboration with industry. Customs is also saying that it can address the issue directly with the other country.

For conflicts that raise a real substantive issue, CBP says it will endeavor to provide an initial response within 60 days and will keep the relevant party informed thereafter.

This is a potentially valuable program and, also, a genuinely nice thing. Thanks.

1 comment:

Troy Crago-Edwards said...

Great information! Thanks for sharing! (And a happy Smoot-Hawley Day to you, by the way...)