SENATE FINANCE WRAPS UP CUSTOMS OVERSIGHT HEARINGS
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee completed the third and final hearing
in its review of Customs’ operation and enforcement efforts Tuesday.
Customs is hopeful that the Senate will support funding needed to build
its future umbrella system, the Automated Commercial Environment.
"It’s hard to argue against the case for automation especially when the
facts are known," Customs Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told members of the American
Association of Exporters and Importers Monday in New York. The agency said that ACE will
cost as much as $1.8 billion to develop over the next four to seven years.
The estimates won’t be known until Customs hires a contractor to develop
the system. The House Ways and Means Committee last week proposed $150 million for
Customs’ system develop in 2000. But Customs said that’s not enough if the agency wants to
build its system in four years.
"That’s just an authorization, not an appropriation," Kelly said.
"That’s a big difference in Washington."