A package of recommended updates to the customs laws that would position U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the future of trade could be sent later this year to Congress, where support for such changes appears to be growing.
CBP states that the global trade environment has evolved significantly over the past several decades, driven by rapid technological changes, the continued expansion of the global marketplace, and the rise of e-commerce. Concurrently, the complexities of the modern supply chain have made it increasingly difficult to identify and deter violative behavior, and opportunities for tech-enabled operational enhancements have yet to be realized.
The 21st Century Customs Framework, which CBP launched in 2019, seeks to address these challenges by pursuing improved timeliness and quality of data received in the entry and de minimis environments; expanded information sharing and clarification of how information is used for targeting, admissibility, and other purposes; increased visibility into global supply chains; greater flexibility and streamlined processes for enforcement; and alternative sources of funding to build and sustain necessary infrastructure.
CBP has said that while some progress can be made via regulatory, policy, and technical changes, legislative updates are needed to fully implement the reforms envisioned by the 21CCF. CBP has therefore drafted and circulated legislative discussion drafts and has met frequently with members of the 21CCF Task Force under CBP’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee to discuss those drafts as well as industry-identified proposals for enhanced trade facilitation and other benefits for lawful trade actors. The task force’s most recent status report on these efforts can be found here.
At a recent COAC meeting CBP said that over the next few months it will work with the task force and partner government agencies to finalize a 21CCF legislative package, which will include provisions on both enforcement and facilitation. After COAC’s next public meeting in June CBP intends to share this package with Congress, where the task force said 21CCF priorities “continue to gain traction.” Members of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees have expressed interest in advancing customs modernization legislation this year, the task force said, and Senate Finance has already held one hearing on the matter and is planning another this summer.
The task force acknowledges that there are industry priorities that will not be reflected in the 21CCF legislative package. The task force therefore plans to publish this summer a report identifying additional facilitation-centric or transformative modernization concepts for CBP, PGA, or congressional consideration. These could include sub-statutory ideas, statutory ideas COAC did not vote to prioritize, or statutory ideas CBP is not able to pursue due to impacts on PGAs. CBP is encouraging the trade community to engage with Congress on these issues.
For more information on the 21CCF and related legislation, please contact Lenny Feldman at (305) 894-1011 or via email or Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.
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