As the United States prepares to enter week three of a partial government shutdown, importers, exporters and trade agencies are beginning to feel the impacts. Typically, organizations such as the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would be in high gear. However, many of these agencies are operating at reduced capacity due to the discontinuation of non-essential services.
If you are an importer or exporter, here are four ways the latest government shutdown could be impacting you:
1. FMC is currently not working
FMC is not posting the latest ocean rates filed for master carriers or NVO/OTIs. While trade lanes previously registered with FMC are minimally impacted, new trade lanes could experience delays and trade disruptions.
For example, if you are an importer who is attempting to move cargo from a new trade lane and the ocean carrier does not have a rate in place with the FMC, the ocean carrier might not move the cargo. Cargo will be unable to move from the origin to the destination until a rate can be legally filed.
2. CBP ABI representatives are currently not working
The temporary loss of CBP ABI representatives is leading to reduced capacity for crucial client set up and entry resolution. Port summary corrections regarding S301 List 1 tariffs that were recently announced by USTR cannot be processed at this time. CBP-led ACE calls will also be cancelled until this furlough period has ended.
3. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) Board is currently not working
This is prohibiting FTZ approvals from occurring, resulting in a limitation of FTZ questions being resolved. For example, if you try to visit the FTZ website, you will find that the website has been taken down, creating a whole host of issues for importers and exporters who are looking for FTZ-specific information.
4. USTR is not posting regular trade updates on its website
The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is not posting tariff lists, trade updates or any international compliance updates that have occurred after December 22, 2018. As a result, trade statistics from the USTR and the Federal Register could be skewed until the government shutdown is complete.
Who can I reach out to if I have additional questions?
If you have further questions regarding the US government shutdown, please contact us or reach out to your Ascent Global Logistics representative directly. Our team will help answer any questions you many have about imports, exports and trade compliance.