SENATE APPROPRIATIONS BILL OFFERS $230 MILLION FOR ACE
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Treasury Postal bill markup offers $230 million for development of Customs’ future computer system in fiscal 2002.
The Senate’s appropriations bill offers $100 million more for Customs’ Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) than the President’s proposed budget for the system in fiscal 2002. However, it falls short of matching the House appropriation’s bill, which calls for $300 million for ACE development.
This was a setback for the U.S. shipping industry lobby, which wants Congress to spend at least $300 million for ACE development next fiscal year. “If this stays through conference we believe the House will give up some but not all the way to $230,” said Jim Clawson of the Coalition for Customs Automation Funding, which includes more than trade associations, importers, exporters, customs brokers, freight forwarders, carriers, consultants and attorneys. The CCAF will continue its lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.
The shipping industry doesn’t want Customs to take more than four to five years to build a modern computer system to process their imports and exports.