Government Shutdown Guidance
With a Federal government shutdown officially underway, the NCBFAA has reached out to representatives of Partner Government Agencies (PGA) for information regarding the arrangements they have in place for the processing of Import and Export cargo. Please see below for agency guidance and procedure.
On a conference call this afternoon, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said they are keeping a close eye on the situation and will be as prepared as they can be in case of a government shutdown. CBP is planning to have conference calls every Monday and Wednesday, at 1:00 p.m. ET, for the duration of the shutdown. A CSMS message will be prepared shortly, outlining the plans. The Office of Trade will be open to ensure cargo flows as routinely and predictably as possible. CBP is working with other agencies to have the flow of trade as close to normal as possible. Management and leadership will continue to work, however, client representatives and others will not. In the case of an ACE outage, client representatives will be recalled.
As for field operations, ports will be staffed as normal. Trucks will be processed, air cargo and hubs will be working and trains and vessels will all be processed. There will be no interruptions to conveyance, clearance and cargo release. As some PGA’s will not be funded, CBP will use their discretion at the border to keep cargo flowing. Centers of Excellence and Expertise will be open as normal with drawback and liquidations continuing under normal circumstances. As for the quota desk, it will be operational. The Quota Branch Chief and an additional staff member will be in the office.
Monday and Tuesday of next week are still considered holidays and will be treated as such. Expect normal holiday hours and level of service. Land borders and airports will be open Monday and Tuesday but are operating under normal federal holiday procedure.
For general trade questions, please see ports and centers. For trade policy questions, a dedicated email (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been set up and will be staffed if there is a question that cannot be staffed at ports or centers.
In the event of a shutdown, all U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) port investigators would be furloughed. CPSC targeting would be suspended. Shipments that have been targeted, but not arrived for examination, would be released, unless CBP or another PGA has interest or an imminent health and safety issue has been identified. Decisions on whether to release shipments that have been detained because they failed field screening and may be violative will be made on a case by case basis.
As far as a point of contact during a shutdown, they are referring callers to their hotline at (800) 638-2772, which will direct inquiries to staff on duty.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have funding to continue border operations.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) import operations will remain operational: FDA Prior Notice review, entry processing, sampling/examination of high-risk shipments, and compliance activities will continue.
For any entry-related issues:
- For issues related to Prior Notice processing, contact FDA’s Division of Food Defense Targeting at their main number 866-521-2297;
- For issues related to FDA entry admissibility processing, contact your usual local FDA contacts. These can be found using FDA’s “FDA Import Offices and Ports of Entry” webpage at this link: https://www.fda.gov/forindustry/importprogram/ucm319216.htm
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will have funding to continue border operations.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will operate at the ports as normal during any possible shut down since the wildlife inspection program is funded using user fees and not appropriated funds. Issuance of Import/Export Licenses and Designated Port Exception Permits (DPEP) will be suspended during any shutdown as will their general email (email@example.com) and headquarters/regional office telephone services. Any permits issued by the Division of Management Authority (DMA) such as CITES, ESA, etc. would be suspended during a possible shutdown.
While they will have emergency IT available to maintain eDecs and internal systems, help desk personnel will be on furlough in the event of a shutdown. They are asking the trade to stay in touch with the wildlife inspection offices if any help desk assistance is needed for eDecs.
In the event of a government shutdown, no National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) personnel will be available to release shipments in a circumstance where such action on their part is needed. No one will be available to take calls during the shutdown.
Customs operation will continue. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS) will be closed.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will continue to provide inspection services, including inspections for import requirements, during a Federal Government shut down. The inspection results are electronically transmitted to their Compliance Enforcement Management System (CEMS). CEMS is the system that automatically reconciles entries which pass inspection and meet 8e import requirements and returns a “May Proceed” message back to ACE should an entry meet import requirements. As with the last government shutdown, entries which electronically reconcile via CEMS will continue to do so with a “May Proceed” message back to ACE as long as transmissions of inspection certificates are submitted by inspection personnel and everything reconciles.
The Marketing Order and Agreement Division’s Compliance and Enforcement Branch (CEB) staff will be lightly staffed.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will have funding to continue border operations.
We recognizes that members will face difficulties and challenges during a shutdown. We ask that our client track any issues that arise out of a lack of PGA availability.