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American Shipper

BACM SEEKS TO “BROADEN ALLIANCE” FOR MOD ACT REFORM

BACM SEEKS TO “BROADEN ALLIANCE” FOR MOD ACT REFORM

BACM SEEKS TO “BROADEN ALLIANCE” FOR MOD ACT REFORM

   The U.S. Business Alliance for Customs Modernization said its reform efforts are open to every entity large or small in the import process.

   “This is an equal-opportunity process,” said James P. Finnegan, director of international trade and compliance for Sony Corp. and chairman of BACM. “There are no special interests here. Everyone is impacted.”

   BACM was created last year by a group of 22 large importers, including Wal-Mart, BP-Amoco and General Motors, to move Customs to import processes which were promised to the industry in the 1993 Customs Modernization Act.

   Some industry and Customs officials have criticized BACM as a special interest group with self-interested agenda.

   BACM has defended its record of including as many parties into the process of its reform efforts. BACM has met regularly with industry groups, such as the Joint Industry Group, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, and the American Association of Exporters and Importers.

   “We need to work together, broaden our alliance and speak with one voice,” Finnegan said. “We have been doing that, but we need to do it even better.”

   BACM will hold a trade summit with its members and representatives from a handful of trade organizations today to lay the groundwork for possible Mod Act II legislation next year.

   Customs has proposed earlier this year its Entry Revision Project, which also seeks to reform the agency's import processes. Customs plans to take up ERP early next year.

   “We're looking at the whole process from how goods are released to how drawback is filed,” said Stu Seidel, assistant commissioner for the Customs' Office of Regulations and Rulings. “We hope the trade can get together and maybe next year we can do what we did on the Mod Act.”

   BACM envisions the best aspects of ERP and its own efforts into a Mod Act II legislation.

   “We're the stakeholders. Customs is a partner — not a stakeholder,” Finnegan said.

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