FOUR MAJOR INDUSTRY GROUPS TO HOLD TRADE SUMMIT ON CUSTOMS REFORM
Members of four large industry groups will hold a trade summit in Washington to set up a plan of action in an effort to seek reform of U.S. Customs’ import process during upcoming congressional year.
The industry groups involved in the meeting are the American Association of Exporters and Importers, U.S. Business Alliance for Customs Modernization, Joint Industry Group and the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America. These groups have become increasingly dissatisfied during the past several years with the outcomes of the 1993 Customs Modernization Act.
“The Customs Service was required to modernize and automate their import processes, while the trade community assumed greater responsibility to ensure that shipments comply with the import laws of the United States,” the groups said. “After seven years, however, import processes have become increasingly onerous and burdensome to U.S. business.”
Last year, Customs had proposed to restructure the import process through its own Entry Revision Project, which the industry groups said comes up short of their expectations. “The Customs Service is proposing limited revisions to the entry process while failing to address the escalating costs associated with outdated import compliance programs and processes,” the group said.
The groups anticipate their efforts will generate an “omnibus customs bill” in the 107th Congress. They plan to seek hearings early in the congressional year with the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees. These hearings will focus on the future of the government’s Merchandise Processing Fee for imports, Customs’ risk management programs, and modernization of the Customs import entry process.
The meeting, scheduled for Dec. 6 at that National Association of Manufacturers’ headquarters, will start discussions on preparing for the congressional hearings and explore drafting a joint industry letter that will spell out the groups’ concerns to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees.