INDUSTRY VOWS FIGHT FOR CUSTOMS SPENDING
A coalition of more than 200 companies and trade associations says it’s gearing up for a major push in Congress for U.S. Customs automation funds.
The Coalition for Customs Automation Funding is disappointed by President Clinton’s proposed budget for fiscal 2001, which does not appropriate funds for Customs' Automated Commercial Environment.
“Although we are sincerely disappointed that the President’s budget did not fund ACE out of appropriated funds, we are not about to wait another year for ACE implementation,” said Robin Lanier of the International Mass Retail Association and chairman of the automation coalition.
ACE, which is estimated to cost $1.8 billion, is needed to replace Customs’ 17-year-old Automated Commercial System. “The current system is headed for a train wreck,” said Mike Lane, former Customs deputy commissioner.
In the proposed fiscal 2001 budget, Customs would receive $61 million for ACS maintenance and $40 million for anti-drug smuggling initiatives. The budget proposes to pay for ACE through user fees, at a cost of $210 million to industry.
The coalition is opposed to paying for ACE through user fees. “We’re optimistic that with growing support on Capitol Hill, CCAF can achieve funding for ACE in FY 2001 — out of appropriated funds,” Lanier said.