Earlier today, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2013 (S. 662). The bill was introduced by Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch in March to help reduce costs and delays at the border by modernizing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), two key trade-related agencies. CBP is charged with facilitating imported cargo through U.S. ports of entry, enforcing trade and customs laws at the border, collecting customs revenue and enforcing import security laws to prevent illicit shipments from entering the United States.
As Chairman Baucus noted in his opening statement, about 365,000 entries move through U.S. ports – including more than 3,000 express entries – on a typical day. These goods arrive in more than 66,000 truck, rail and sea containers as well as hundreds of aircraft. “American businesses, ranchers, farmers and consumers depend on the timely movement of all these goods across borders to remain competitive. In business, time is money. So CBP and ICE must facilitate trade expeditiously,” Chairman Baucus said. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Hatch reiterated the importance of international trade to the U.S. economy and highlighted the need to protect intellectual property rights.
Manufacturers were represented at the hearing by Chrysler, Procter & Gamble and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). William Cook, Director of Worldwide Logistics and Customs for Chrysler, described the impact of delays at the border on Chrysler’s bottom line in his testimony. (continue reading…)