JOINT INDUSTRY GROUP CEO BACKS HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT
James B. Clawson, chief executive officer of the Joint Industry Group, urged lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee to recognize the U.S. Customs Service's role when transitioning to the new Department of Homeland Security.
“It is essential that Customs and the administration not lose sight of their role to facilitate the flow of trade during the reorganization,” he said. The president’s plan calls for combining 22 federal agencies into four subgroups, all under the guidance of the new department.
Clawson said that funds earmarked for commercial operations at Customs should remain so, even though there would be an emphasis on security operations.
“Fees imposed in the name of Customs’ commercial operations should only be dedicated to the programs they claim to support,” he said. JIG recommends the establishment of an Under Secretary for Commercial Operations, whose office would ensure equal priority of commercial operations within the department, while allowing the committee continued jurisdiction and oversight.
Clawson said Congress and trade should be guaranteed a role in oversight as Customs is moved to the new department, and added that JIG supports procedural trade reform to ease regulatory and administrative burdens posed on Congress and trade.
“JIG is committed to work with Commissioner Bonner in his efforts to simplify current drawback procedures,” he said.