Trade and Customs Updates
Compilation of Facts and Figures on the US Government Shutdown
Government Shutdown Facts and Figures:
- The United States is on the verge of its 22nd government shutdown.
- A government shutdown occurs when Congress fails to approve or resolve disagreements about the federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Congress has until September 30 to reach an agreement on government funding for the fiscal year, 2024.
- The last and longest government shutdown started on December 22, 2018, and went on until January 25, 2019 (34 days).
- Most government agencies must furlough their non-essential workers and stop or limit their activities during a government shutdown.
- Per the Department of Homeland Security:
- 72% of the DHS workforce would be required to work without pay. Those working without pay include law enforcement officers, analysts, investigators, and disaster response officials.
- CBP agents and officers working at over 300 ports of entry and protecting more than 6,000 miles of border under challenging circumstances would be required to continue performing their vital missions without pay.
- Reduced Cybersecurity and Physical Security Support to the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure.
- Slowed Deployment of Advanced Security Technology at Airports.
- Long-term Impacts to Hiring and Onboarding.
- For Partner Government Agencies, the impact will depend on the agency.
- For those agencies that have automated systems in place, any physical review or exam may be limited or delayed.
- For agencies like United States Department of Agriculture, the US Food and Drug Administration, staffing will be impacted which could directly impact timely review and clearance of your cargo.
- Per FDA contacts GEODIS has been advised that entries will still be reviewed by their personnel, the staffing is limited however, and they still do not know how many will be working.
- Per shut down guidance issued in 2019 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the event of a lapse in appropriations, the agency may continue only those activities that are exempted or excepted, as described in applicable law, regulation, or guidance. Such activities may only be carried out by employees who are designated exempt or excepted.
- As of 9/27/23, CPSC has provided feedback to inquiring trade groups that “At this time, we are still working through our shutdown procedures. We will stay in touch and update you as soon as we have additional information. We appreciate your patience.” Additionally, they have advised “The system has capabilities to coordinate based upon the data provided. If staff are unavailable, physical review will correspondingly be limited.
- In regard to the CPSC Beta Pilot, CPSC has advised that they have contract employees and will be funded so Pilot will not be delayed. It will not be fully operational, but still moving forward as scheduled.
- For the Fish and Wildlife Service issuance of licenses and permits may be impacted.
- As of 9/27/2023 the Environmental Protection Agency has provided feedback to trade associations that they have not yet received direction on operations should one occur. Information will be provided when available.
- Sec 232 exclusions submitted will not be reviewed during a lapse in government funding until the “government is open.”
- Trade Remedy is still looking at a workaround for Steel and/or Aluminum Licenses. They are considering a “general license” number for each in the event of lapse in government funding.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Adds Three Entities to the UFLPA Entity List
In a notice issued on September 26, 2023, DHS announced that they will be adding three entities to the existing Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List.
The three entities being added are:
- Xinjiang Tianmian Foundation Textile Co., Ltd.
- Xinjiang Tianshan Wool Textile Co. Ltd.
- Xinjiang Zhongtai Group Co. Ltd.
These changes will take effect on September 27, 2023.
APHIS announces Updated 2023 AQI User Fee Proposed Rule Stakeholder Webinar Recordings
On August 11, 2023, APHIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register outlining proposed changes to its user fees charged for certain Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) services. In association with this proposed rule, APHIS held six stakeholder webinars for stakeholders impacted by each fee.
Each webinar targeted a separate fee area and included a question and answer session. Recordings are now available on the stakeholder webinars page.
Additional information regarding the 2023 proposed AQI Fee proposed rule can be accessed on the USDA AQI User Fee page
CPSC Adopts New Safety Standard for Coin Batteries
On 21 Sep 2023, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published a final rule in the Federal Register setting a new mandatory safety standard for button cell or coin batteries, as well as consumer products that contain them.
The new final rule will take effect on 23 Oct 2023, unless CPSC receives adverse comment by 05 Oct 2023. The new rule will require third-party testing and certification of children’s products subject to the rule “on or after” 20 Dec 2023. Per CPSC, they will give the manufacturers and distributors of consumer products button cell or coin batteries a grace period until 19 Mar 2024, before they must comply with the new standard.
Additional information on CPSC’s enforcement on coin and button-cell batteries can be found on CPSC’s website.
Reese’s Law, the basis for this regulation, was passed by the US Congress on 16 Aug 2022 as Public Law 117-171.
Census releases Steel Import Data for August 2023
The US Census Bureau released preliminary numbers for the importation of steel and steel products for Aug 2023. The preliminary numbers show a decrease in imports in both value and volume. Overall volume has decreased year over year.
Interested parties can review the full report by accessing US Census’s website on Consumption of Steel Products.
Trade and Customs Reminders & Events
USDA BRS Stakeholder Meeting
15 Nov 2023 from 1:00-4:00 PM EST
The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) will hold its annual Stakeholder Meeting on Wednesday, 15 Nov 2023, from 1:00-4:00 pm (EST). Attendees can register now to participate in-person—at the USDA Center at Riverside, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737—or virtually.
The meeting will provide highlights from fiscal year 2023, key updates and plans for fiscal year 2024, including regulatory exemptions, permitting, regulatory status reviews, and our international efforts.