U.S. government shutdown: Day 3
The effect of the partial U.S. government shutdown is having an impact on businesses as many of the behind-the-scenes functions deemed "non-essential," but critical to commercial transactions, have ceased.
The closure of the U.S. International Trade Commission's Website, for example, makes it difficult for importers to accurately classify goods and there is worry that they could be faulted by U.S. Customs for having violated their "reasonable care" obligation to comply with regulations, according to a memo to members of the American Association of Exporters and Importers.
CBP has said it will take a "common sense" approach and provide the trade community with further guidance on entries filed during the shutdown when CBP staff returns from furlough, according to AAEI.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also not issuing certain veterinary certificates and additional declarations required by some foreign countries receiving U.S. exports, the trade association said.
In addition, the shutdown could delay the release of new export control guidance by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security scheduled within the next two weeks.
The shutdown began Oct. 1 when Congress could not agree on a resolution to continue spending at their existing levels for several weeks after failing to pass fiscal year 2014 appropriations bills for the various departments of the government. A minority of Republicans in the House is insisting that Congress and the White House agree to dismantle the Affordable Care Act of 2010 before agreeing to release funds. Republican efforts on Wednesday to fund certain government functions, such as operating national parks, was rejected by Democrats who don't want to deal with the budget in a piecemeal fashion.
Certain government work that's not directly dependent on appropriations because money comes from user fees or other sources is continuing, as is work directly related to safety and property protection. At the Department of Transportation, for example, none of the 1,100 workers at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the 2,900 employees at the Federal Highway Administration have been furloughed, and two-thirds of the Federal Aviation Administration is still on the job. The Federal Railroad Administration and the Maritime Administration have lost more than half their staff. Tasks that are now on hold include capital planning, rulemakings, and some types of research.
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at the Canadian-U.S. border, the Canadian Trucking Alliance confirmed after a conference call with Customs and Border Protection.
“Should carriers experience issues at the ports, they are encouraged to contact the port directors, although disruptions are not anticipated,” the alliance said.
“According to CBP, there is no anticipated impact to the processing of people or cargo through ports of entry,” CTA said. “All front line officers, Centers of Excellence, ag specialists, and revenue collection (drawback, import, entry, fines and penalties, seized property) are exempt from the furloughs and will continue operating as they normally would.“