May 22,2013

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Sean Neary/Meaghan Smith
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Baucus Says Modern Customs and Border Protection System is Vital to U.S. Competitiveness

Finance Chairman and Ranking Member Introduced the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act in March

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said today that legislation he and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced to strengthen and modernize U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is key to maintaining the flow of trade and keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy. 

“American businesses, ranchers, farmers and consumers depend on the timely movement of goods across our borders to remain competitive,” Senator Baucus said.  “Over the last twenty-five years, U.S. trade in goods and services has increased by more than 900 percent.  Times have changed, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement must modernize to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  At the same time, CBP and ICE must ensure that our borders are secure.  The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2013 gives CBP and ICE the tools they need to effectively facilitate the flow of trade and ensure our national security.”

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2013 reauthorizes CBP and ICE and provides new tools and resources to facilitate trade across U.S. borders.  It also dedicates a Deputy Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner of Trade exclusively to CBP’s trade facilitation and trade enforcement missions. 

The legislation strengthens trade enforcement by requiring a Joint Strategic Plan to improve CBP and ICE’s coordination.  It also requires CBP and ICE to coordinate with other federal agencies to enforce U.S. trade laws at our borders and prevent unsafe or infringing goods from entering the U.S. market.  And the bill improves trade enforcement by allowing CBP and ICE to use all available data to target incoming cargo that may violate U.S. trade laws.   

The bill also includes provisions of the ENFORCE Act, which the Finance Committee marked up in July 2012, to provide CBP and the private sector with tools to combat the evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties.

The legislation also directs CBP to provide commercially significant and measurable trade benefits to participants in voluntary trade programs.  This will promote compliance among importers and expedite the flow of legitimate goods across U.S. borders, while allowing CBP to focus its limited resources on shipments that pose the greatest risk to our economy and consumers.

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over international trade, including the trade missions of CBP and ICE and committee approval of the nominee for CBP commissioner.

A full summary of the bill is available here.