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On December 8, 2023, Senators Bill Cassidy and Sheldon Whitehouse introduced a new version of the Customs Modernization bill to amend the Tariff Act of 1930. The new proposal comes over two years after Senator Cassidy initially proposed draft legislation, which we explained in a prior post. The most recent proposed bill aims to strengthen U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) authority to enforce Customs regulations of international shipments.

Since enactment of the Customs Modernization Act of 1993, U.S. trade volumes have increased significantly from $600 billion to over $2.7 trillion per year. The increase in volume and increase in complexities of trade has made lawmakers recently start to focus on tools required to address a growing need to better identify and deter unlawful shipments. If the new bill is passed, it is expected to meet the modern demands of facilitating international trade amid complex and evolving supply chains.

The major provisions of the new bill address data collection constraints, supply chain visibility, improved enforcement, and the expansion of trade data usage and information sharing. If passed, the bill will among other things enable the following updates to international trade facilitation:

  • Allow Customs to collect more information on duty-free shipments under $800 to better counter illicit trade;
  • Clarify Customs authority to provide information to relevant supply chain parties upon reasonable suspicion that goods are counterfeit or otherwise illicit;
  • Establish an appeals process for certain CBP decisions on imports;
  • Expand Customs access to data prior to the entry of goods and from parties throughout the supply chain;
  • Provide Customs with additional tools needed to enforce trade regulations.

The bill will have significant impact on how Customs regulates trade and effectively how importers and trade partners conduct business operations. For questions, please reach out to the Husch Blackwell International Trade and Supply chain team.