Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Bill Signed Into Law, Setting Implementation Dates

Excerpt from: Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade | February 25, 2016

President Obama signed into law Feb. 24 a broad customs reauthorization bill that includes provisions on trade facilitation and enforcement, import safety, intellectual property rights protection, trade remedies, duty-free entry, customs brokers, drawback, trade partnership programs and other topics. Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg hosted a webinar March 1 to review how U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the trade community will be affected by the major provisions of this legislation, which include the following.

As of March 11, the value of goods that may be imported by one person on one day free of duty and tax will be increased from $200 to $800.

Effective April 25, HTSUS Chapter 9801 will be amended to allow for duty-free returns of previously exported non-U.S. goods and HTSUS Chapter 9802 related to articles exported and returned, or advanced or improved abroad, will be modified.

Effective Aug. 23, CBP will be required to investigate allegations of antidumping and countervailing duty evasion according to specified procedures.

CBP must work with the private sector to (a) ensure that agency partnership program participants receive commercially significant and measurable trade benefits and (b) improve its ability to classify and appraise imported goods, improve trade enforcement efforts and further facilitate trade.

As of Feb. 24, 2018, numerous changes will be made to simplify drawback law, including standardizing the time frames for filing drawback and modernizing the claimant recordkeeping requirements.

CBP must create minimum standards regarding the identity of importers that will apply in connection with the importation of goods and establish penalties for customs brokers failing to collect the information required.

No later than Aug. 23, CBP must establish a program that requires bond amounts for new importers to be adjusted based on the level of risk posed to federal revenue.

Effective March 26, a new program will provide duty preferences to some goods imported from Nepal.

CBP’s authority to provide unredacted samples and images to intellectual property owners when goods are suspected to be infringing is reaffirmed and made mandatory where CBP determines their examination or testing will help CBP make its decision.

The residue of bulk cargo contained in instruments of international traffic that are imported into the U.S. customs territory after having previously been exported from U.S. is exempt from duty.

An interagency import safety rapid response plan must be developed no later than Dec. 31, 2016.

The “consumptive demand” clause allowing goods believed to be made under forced labor conditions to be imported under certain circumstances will eliminated as of March 10.

CBP must dedicate resources and personnel to address concerns of illegal honey transshipment.

The Dec. 31, 2016, deadline for use of the International Trade Data System as the primary means of receiving documentation required for the release of imported cargo and clearance of cargo for export is codified.

For more information on the customs reauthorization bill, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970.