HOUSE BILL ADDS TO IMPORTER FEAR OF MPF EXTENSION
The U.S. House of Representatives has heightened fears in the import industry that the merchandise processing fee may be extended another eight years.
Last week, Rep. Greg Ganske, R-Iowa, introduced a bill (H.R. 2563) that mirrors the Senate’s Bipartisan Patient Protection Act (S. 1052). Both bills call for extending the MPF from 2003 to 2011. Another House version of the same legislation (H.R. 2315), sponsored by Rep. Ernest Lee Fletcher, R-Ky., excludes the MPF extension provision.
Last month, the Joint Industry Group, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, the American Association of Exporters and Importers and other industry groups tried unsucessfully to remove the MPF extension language from the Senate bill.
MPF was imposed against the import industry in the 1985 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Importers have detested paying MPF to the government, because it was believed that it would go toward modernizing Customs’ operations. Instead the money has been dumped into the government’s general funds. It’s estimated that the U.S. import industry spends about $1 billion in MPF annually.
“The louder the voices that we can get from the industry at large the better chance we’ll have at removing this,” said Alan Atkinson, spokesman for the Joint Industry Committee. “Otherwise, we’re stuck with what Congress gives us.”