August 22, 2016

Government Accountability Office Shows Obama Administration Must Do More To Enforce U.S. Trade Laws

According to a report released last week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as of mid-May 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had failed to collect about $2.3 billion in antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties owed to the U.S. government for goods that had entered the United States in fiscal years 2001–2014. 

The CBP, unfortunately, told GAO that it does not expect to collect most of that debt. 

The GAO found most of the “unpaid bills were concentrated among a small number of importers, with 20 accounting for about 50 percent of the $2.3 billion uncollected.” 

To address the issue, GAO recommended that CBP: issue guidance to collect and analyze data on a regular basis to find and address the causes of AD/CV duty liquidation errors and track progress; regularly conduct a comprehensive risk analysis that considers likelihood as well as significance of risk factors related to duty nonpayment; and take steps to use its data and risk assessment strategically to mitigate AD/CV duty nonpayment consistent with U.S. law and international trade obligations. CBP concurred with all three recommendations. 

Click here to read the full report. 

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released a statement after the GAO issued its analysis. Chairman Brady said, “Today’s GAO report highlights that the Administration needs to do much more to enforce our trade laws. … Congress has long urged the Administration to improve enforcement and has passed legislation to help address this problem. … I urge the Administration to show that it is serious about enforcing our trade laws. First, it should meeting our deadline and issue regulations that fully implement the new statutory requirements. Second, it should immediately implement procedures following today’s GAO recommendations to improve CBP’s procedures. By taking strong action, we can help U.S. manufacturers who are hurt by unfair trade practices.” 

The Metals Service Center Institute shares Chairman Brady’s opinion and joins in his call for better enforcement of U.S. trade laws.