Updates to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) to reflect exclusions from Section 301 tariffs won’t be implemented until 10 business days after the shutdown has ended, the analysis says, though the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative recently granted almost 1,000 product exclusion requests with regard to the initial tranche of tariffs across $34 billion worth of goods from China in 2017 import value.
“This means that until the government reopens, importers that qualify for the exclusions will have to continue paying the additional tariffs on affected goods,” said the analysis.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is continuing several of its responsibilities during the shutdown — which hit its 31st day Monday — including issuing customs broker licenses, permits, filer codes and reviewing and responding to Enforce and Protect Act trade evasion allegations and electronic allegations of trade fraud.
While CBP’s liquidation process is functioning, the agency isn’t processing refunds on any type of normal entry or drawback transaction and interest may apply to the delayed refunds, the analysis says. Customs also isn’t currently issuing any new rulings to importers on its Customs Rulings Online Search System (CROSS) database.
In addition to customs, other trade-related agencies are affected by the shutdown.
Almost 90 percent of Commerce Department staff has been furloughed, as the International Trade Administration (ITA) and Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) are operating with “extremely minimal” staff, according to the analysis.
“The ITA has effectively ceased all antidumping and countervailing duty investigations as well as other administrative proceedings including annual administrative reviews due to the lack of funding,” the analysis says. “The delay in ongoing proceedings will have cascading effects on impending deadlines for months to come as all cases are either delayed or postponed for several weeks after the agency reopens.”
The shutdown has also halted BIS’ exclusion process for Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, with no new exclusions granted since Dec. 21, and a significant continuing backlog and further delays expected as Commerce has more than 100,000 requests to review.
USTR announced on Jan. 14 it was starting furloughs.
The analysis was authored by Husch Blackwell law firm.