On March 22, 2013, the U.S. Senate introduced a bill that would aim to strengthen the trade facilitation and enforcement efforts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2013 would, among other items:

• Strengthen trade enforcement to target cargo that may violate U.S. customs and trade laws

• Strengthen intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement and expand CBP’s tools and authorities cc-mr-congress102012to protect intellectual property rights

• Focus on import safety

• Improve trade facilitation and enhanced trade benefits to qualified partners

• Enhance customs modernization with new funding for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and International Trade Data System

• Streamline CBP’s duty drawback process by requiring electronic filing of claims and establishing objective eligibility requirements

Co-sponsors Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today issued a statement on the pending trade bill:

CBP must fulfill its historic mission of collecting duties owed to the U.S. Treasury.  CBP and ICE also enforce U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty laws and ensure that foreign companies don’t undercut American jobs by circumventing those laws.  And CBP and ICE stop counterfeit goods from entering the U.S. market. […]

This bill creates new high-level positions within CBP solely dedicated to trade facilitation and trade enforcement.  It allows CBP to target the imports that are most likely to violate U.S. intellectual property, import safety and other laws.  And it provides speedy customs clearance and other commercial benefits for importers with a strong record of compliance.

While similar legislative efforts pursued in the past were ultimately shelved by Congress, there is a reasonably good possibility that this new bill will be considered by the full Senate this summer.

A complete summary of the proposed legislation is available here.

Update: Senate Finance Holds Customs Reauthorization Hearing

 

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