U.S. INDUSTRY GROUPS SLIGHTED BY LACK OF CUSTOMS PARTICIPATION
Industry groups around the country are concerned about the reduced
participation by U.S. Customs officials at their meetings.
The agency recently decided to cut back its participation for all
industry meetings from as many as four to six times a year to only twice a year.
"The Customs Service faces increasing demands on available staffing to
perform mission critical duties," said Charles W. Winwood, assistant
commissioner of Customs’ Office of Field Operations. "Our staff is left
with decreasing availability to perform policy development and operational oversight that
are their core work functions."
Industry groups say this is not enough, especially with the need to
maintain the Automated Commercial System and to develop the agency’s new umbrella system.
"This unilateral action illustrates very clearly Customs’ desire not to
continue productive or effective dialogue with the broader trade
community," said Len Podgurney, director of pricing for Canadian National Railways
and chairman of several industry associations.