Members of Congress recently re-introduced the Residue Entries and Streamlining Trade (REST) Act, which was designed to remove a regulatory interpretation by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At issue were some additional requirements on getting empty containers back into the United States that had some residue of the same chemical that had recently been exported. CBP should be applauded for a policy on delaying these additional requirements. In an article that I was in the midst of writing, it was argued that CBP needed to develop a new costs/risk analysis associated beforehand. Taking an active and hardline role in ensuring that these containers were completely empty when both the private and public sectors would be exposed to increased costs and added health/safety risks did not seem to be good public policy. Apparently, the continued collaboration between the private and public sectors worked.

But instead of this being a temporary remedy to the potential for supply chain disruptions, which may needlessly result in border congestion and delays and ultimately manifests in increased costs and lost productivity, maybe the continued and permanent implementation of provisions such as 19 U.S.C. 1321 and others would be more appropriate. I am not a lawyer, but the following might apply to this situation.

Ҥ1321. Administrative exemptions

(a) Disregard of minor discrepancies in collection of taxes and duties; admission of articles free of duty or tax; limit on amount of exemption

The Secretary of the Treasury, in order to avoid expense and inconvenience to the Government disproportionate to the amount of revenue that would otherwise be collected, is authorized, under such regulations.”

I offer this as one solution because it makes sense! Moreover, it adds to the efficient and expedient cross-border shipments for the trucking and rail industry.

Gary S. Becker is the Chief Economist for Catalyst Partners, LLC. In this role, Becker offers economic analyses to clients on matters relating to homeland security, including the cost impact of proposed and final rulemakings. He offers advice on how to save money while achieving desired security benefits. Read More