U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Jan. 22 that the agency will continue to process cargo, collect revenue, and engage in its national security and trade enforcement activities with minimum disruptions during the federal government shutdown that began Jan. 20. (At press time Congress appeared to be moving to end the shutdown by approving a measure to fund the federal government through Feb. 8; however, should that measure not be approved, or should another shutdown occur in the future, the following information will likely still be accurate).
Officials said a majority of CBP employees responsible for cargo will continue working, including (a) Centers of Excellence and Expertise directors, import specialists, entry specialists, and liquidation specialists, (b) international trade specialists, (c) fines, penalties, and forfeitures specialists, (d) agriculture specialists, (e) CBP officers, and (f) the leadership of the offices of Trade and Field Operations at CBP headquarters. With respect to other government agencies with trade-related functions, CBP has provided the attached list of points of contact for shutdown-related questions.
During a shutdown CBP will not engage in the following activities: (a) issuing customs broker licenses, permits, and filer codes, (b) reviewing and responding to Enforce and Protect Act allegations and electronic allegations of trade fraud, (c) responding to all trade data requests, including commercial requests for ITRAC information, and (d) issuing prospective rulings and monitoring import quotas (though quota entries will be accepted). In addition, additional trade enforcement policy guidance to the field will be significantly delayed.
Officials said CBP’s information technology team will be available and supporting operations. Automated Commercial Environment issues should be addressed to the CBP technology services desk because there are limited ACE client representatives available.
CBP will use CSMS messaging to keep the trade community updated and will conduct a call with the trade community at 2 p.m. each day, but the CBP website will not be updated during a shutdown. Questions about operations or issues at a specific port or with an agency other than CBP should be directed to that port or agency.