NCBFAA Seeks Member Feedback to Prepare for Looming Government Shutdown on October 1st! - Sobel Network Shipping Co., Inc.

NCBFAA Seeks Member Feedback to Prepare for Looming Government Shutdown on October 1st!

ATTENTION! Our industry faces the potential of a widespread U.S. government shutdown scheduled to commence on October 1st, which could significantly affect the processing of imports and exports at the nation’s ports.

In response to this imminent threat, the NCBFAA has already initiated internal discussions and strategic planning to address the potential government shutdown.

However, we require your valuable input! We urge you to share any specific challenges you encountered during the previous government shutdown related to the entry, clearance, and release of goods for both imports and exports, particularly those under the jurisdiction of agencies with direct hold authority (such as the FDA, APHIS, and FWS). Additionally, we seek insights from agencies whose actions are necessary for CBP to release shipments, such as the EPA or CPSC.

Furthermore, it is crucial that we receive detailed information about the issues and concerns you anticipate during a potential shutdown in today’s dynamic trade environment. Please provide specifics about potential bottlenecks that could lead to delays in cargo clearance.

We kindly request your comments to be submitted no later than the close of business on Monday, September 18th. You can send your input to Megan Montgomery, NCBFAA Executive Vice President, at [email protected].

CBP has already initiated preparations for a command center, which is expected to include participation from Partner Government Agencies (PGAs). The NCBFAA has commenced discussions with CBP and plans to engage with PGAs starting next week.

Rest assured that the NCBFAA is at the forefront, representing our industry’s interests, gathering critical information, and engaging with federal government agencies responsible for cross-border trade. We are committed to keeping you well-informed on how to navigate your business during the impending government shutdown.

Diane Sabatino, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, addressed the NCBFAA Government Affairs Conference during her breakfast keynote speech on September 12. Photo Credit: NCBFAA

This article, originally published on September 12, is republished here with permission from International Trade Today (ITT). ITT provides up-to-date coverage of import regulation, legislation, and market transactions impacting the customs brokerage and freight forwarding industry.

By Noah Garfinkel

Conversations regarding a potential government shutdown have been ongoing for several weeks between CBP and its partner government agencies. Diane Sabatino, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, mentioned this during her speech on September 12 in response to a question posed by Megan Montgomery, Executive Vice President of the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America. Montgomery highlighted that if a shutdown occurs, it would be the first one where customs brokers transition from district permits to national permits, a change resulting from a CBP final rule released in October 2022 that eliminated the broker district permit in favor of a single national permit for customs brokers.

The introduction of this new national permit could potentially complicate operations during a shutdown, Montgomery noted. The current government funding is set to expire on September 30, unless Congress approves new spending bills or passes legislation to extend the deadline.

Montgomery stated, “We’re going from a scenario where, last time, everyone could work with their local port to clear goods. Now, everyone has to deal with over 400 ports, agencies that may not always designate their trade staff as essential during a shutdown, and conflicts between CBP headquarters and local ports or authorities. In such cases, ports often prevail.” This could result in NCBFAA members not only negotiating with numerous ports but also navigating between headquarters and local ports, potentially yielding varying outcomes.

Sabatino admitted that while discussions between CBP and PGAs are in progress, there isn’t a definitive solution for addressing these challenges at every port. However, efforts are underway to identify PGAs with the most significant impact and develop strategies to mitigate potential issues. “We can’t claim to have all the answers,” Sabatino stated, “but we’re preparing for these challenges and how to address them.”

Sabatino also discussed CBP’s visits to brokers regarding violative merchandise, including fentanyl imported under Entry Type 86. The primary focus has been on educating brokers and freight forwarders to enhance compliance. Sabatino emphasized the importance of understanding the issues faced by brokers and freight forwarders and the need for collaboration to combat illicit activities. The insights gained from these discussions will continue to inform CBP’s efforts to enhance security and identify wrongdoers exploiting legitimate channels to traffic narcotics.