At 25 days and counting, the nation's longest government shutdown is having a relatively small impact on customs clearance processing. This doesn't mean the shutdown has been inconsequential, but the effects have been largely technical and highly nuanced.
For example, on today's call, CBP stated that the upcoming in-bond enforcement measures would be postponed. Specifically, meetings were scheduled in January to prepare for a February meeting concerning implementation. Since there have been no meetings, CBP will be pushing back the February 6 in-bond enforcement for no less than 30 days.
CBP also announced that if the government is not open by January 18, they will postpone a COAC event taking place in Washington, DC. COAC, for those of you who aren't familiar, is the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee, a collaborative group of trade and government stakeholders designed to provide advice on proposed regulations, polices, and practices.
CBP also confirmed that they are permitted to use overtime during the furlough. However, they also commented that the the migrant caravan significantly depleted overtime resources and, therefore, ports have been advised to use overtime prudently.
Here are some other notes from today's call and general observations from our perspective. As noted above, they are generally very nuanced and will only impact a small subset of our clients:
- CBP is not processing refunds of any kind during the lapse in appropriations, including Drawback. They commented, however, that they will pay interest when payments are finally released.
- There will be no regulatory audits during the shutdown. When the lapse of appropriations ends, regulatory audits will be rescheduled. Until then, if you have timelines for a request for documents and submissions, you should continue to adhere to those guidelines.
- An updated version of the CBP Form 5106, which is used to create and update importer names and addresses, is scheduled for deployment on February 9. If they are still operating under a shutdown on February 1, they will delay the implementation in ABI. For those of you using our online onboarding, we'll be rolling out updates soon.
- For our international travelers, global entry is shut down, but the kiosks are up and running. With respect to general passenger delays, CBP stated that airports, land borders, and seaports are not experiencing any impact in operations.
- Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC) reports are not being generated. However, entry data remains accessible via ACE reports. If you're familiar with ACE reports and would like a tutorial, contact us at email@example.com.
- Importer Security Filing (ISF) reports should not be impacted.
- When asked if the ports of New York/Newark were operating on limited hours, CBP stated that they will monitor the issue and follow-up by sending an email for distribution.
- There will be a special sugar tariff-rate quota opening on January 23, starting at 12:01 am and lasting until 12:00 pm
CBP will continue to host conference calls every Monday and Wednesday at 1:00 PM EST for the duration of the shutdown. We will join those calls and keep everyone updated should the current state of affairs change. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.