U.S. CUSTOMS TAKES COMMENTS ON REVISED COMPLIANCE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
U.S. Customs has proposed changes to its compliance assessment process for
importers and is now waiting for industry feedback.
The agency’s Regulatory Audit Division proposed its changes to a group of 15
large importers, known as the Trade Compliance Work Group, on Nov. 18.
Customs’ compliance assessment process started in 1996. The agency modified
the program this year by reducing its sampling size for audited areas from 220 items to
100 items. Customs said the smaller sample size would help to reduce audit times.
Based on the results of the compliance assessment, an importer would
fall into one of three categories: high risk, moderate risk and low risk.
The higher the risk the more scrutiny the importer faces from Customs. By November, the
agency reported that 44 percent of 246 importers audited were labeled as high risk.
Customs’ recent proposal would allow importers up to five errors per
audited area to be considered low-risk, instead of a failing score based on one error.
Importers with one or no error would be placed in a new risk category, called
The agency will give failing importers the chance to complete a
compliance improvement plan — a status quo category called "standard
risk." Customs will then take another compliance measurement before placing the
importer into a risk category. In addition, importers that have already been placed in a
risk category will have the chance to conduct a compliance improvement plan to better
The agency says that the import industry has shown improvement since its
compliance assessment program was implemented. In fiscal 1998, the average industry
compliance rate was 89 percent and the result for fiscal 1999 was 91 percent.
Customs will take comments from the industry regarding its proposed
revisions until Dec. 17. Comments may be e-mailed the agency at