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President Obama is expected to sign into law soon 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. The Senate approved the measure Feb. 11 after the House passed it Dec. 11.

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg will host 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.

  • The value of goods that may be imported by one person on one day free of duty and tax is increased from $200 to $800.
  • HTSUS Chapter 9801 is amended to allow for duty-free returns of previously exported non-U.S. goods.
  • HTSUS Chapter 9802 related to articles exported and returned, or advanced or improved abroad, is modified.
  • 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.
  • Numerous changes are 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.
  • CBP must establish a new importer program that requires bond amounts for new importers to be adjusted based on the level of risk posed to federal revenue.
  • A new program provides 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 assist CBP to make its decision.
  • The residue of bulk cargo contained in instruments of international traffic previously exported from the United States 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 is eliminated.
  • 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.