U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been working with other federal agencies on a plan to restructure the merchandise processing fee and expects to make that plan public in the coming weeks, according to press sources. A Bloomberg BNA article quoted Jason Bernstein, director of customs affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, as saying that “the idea is to collect basically the same amount of fee in many cases but a lot less complexity, a lot less paperwork.”

The MPF is currently assessed at 0.3464 percent of merchandise value for entries above $2,500 (capped at $485 per entry), but the recently signed Trans-Pacific Partnership prohibits the MPF from being levied on an ad valorem basis. Although TPP gives the U.S. a three-year transition period, press sources say the change is likely to be included in the TPP implementation legislation the White House is expected to submit to Congress sometime this year.

MPF for entries valued between $200 and $2,500 is assessed on goods transported to the U.S. via air, ship and international mail at a set fee of $2, $6 or $9 and will therefore be unaffected by TPP. No MPF is currently assessed on entries below $200, though that amount will increase to $800 as of March 11 pursuant to the recently enacted customs reauthorization bill.

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