IMPORT INDUSTRY COALITION SETS COURSE FOR SEEKING U.S. CUSTOMS REFORM
In a packed hotel conference room in Washington yesterday, a coalition of the country’s leading import industry executives laid the groundwork for an aggressive agenda to start reforming the U.S. Customs import process.
“We came together to see if there’s a potential for consensus (on Customs reform) and there was,” said Ronald Schoof, manager of customs and export regulations for Caterpillar, and chairman of the Joint Industry Group.
Other leading industry groups of the coalition are the American Association of Exporters and Importers, Business Alliance for Customs Modernization, National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America.
“It’s a beginning,” said Peter H. Powell Sr., president of C.H. Powell Co., and president of the NCBFAA. “A lot of issues were presented, discussed and suggested.”
The group’s comprehensive agenda will include thorough reviews and responses to Customs’ third version of the Entry Revision Project, entry reform and modernization, account-based processing of import data, risk management strategies and operations, the state of the tariff, import laws and the consumer impact and drawback regulations.
“Each group brings an important role to the dialogue,” said James P. Finnegan, director of international trade and compliance for Sony Corp., and chairman of BACM. “The next step is to exchange information, receive feedback and then send it back out to the (shipping) public at large. It’s a white paper initiative.”
The coalition plans to seek Customs oversight hearings in Congress and develop an Internet Web site to keep the industry at large informed of its progress.
There will also be continued interaction with Customs to pursue the development of the agency’s future computer system, the Automated Commercial Environment. “We must make sure that Customs has the funds it needs to upgrade its systems,” said John P. Simpson, former deputy assistant secretary of regulatory, tariff and trade enforcement at Treasury and the new president of AAEI.