Enforcement of U.S. Import Admissibility Requirements:

Better Management Could Save Work, Reduce Delays, and Improve Service and Importers' Compliance

GGD-82-12: Published: Jan 25, 1982. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1982.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Ronald F. Lauve
(202) 512-6113
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO conducted a review to evaluate the role of the U.S. Customs Service in enforcing import admissibility requirements otherwise administered by over 40 other Federal agencies. Specifically, GAO was concerned with the effectiveness of current procedures for obtaining compliance with admissibility requirements.

The review showed that enforcement practices are resulting in lengthy delays, excessive paper transactions, duplicative work, and confusion. GAO found that Federal agencies do not effectively use monetary penalties to encourage importers to fully and promptly comply with the admissibility laws and regulations. When imports do not meet these requirements, Customs becomes the middleman in the enforcement proceedings between the importers and the other agencies. Additionally, on the advice of the agencies involved, Customs routinely and substantially reduces the penalties. This weakens the effectiveness of this enforcement tool and allows importers to release nonconforming products into commerce with little or no incentive to do otherwise.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should reach agreement with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Health and Human Services on ways to expedite the proceedings against importers who violate the conditions of their performance bonds and reduce the paperwork associated with the role of Customs as middleman in such proceedings.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Health and Human Services should take the actions necessary to ensure that penalties, even if mitigated, are large enough to be an effective enforcement tool.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Health and Human Services should take the actions necessary to ensure that penalties, even if mitigated, are large enough to be an effective enforcement tool.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Health and Human Services should take the actions necessary to ensure that penalties, even if mitigated, are large enough to be an effective enforcement tool.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Health and Human Services should take the actions necessary to ensure that penalties, even if mitigated, are large enough to be an effective enforcement tool.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 21, 2016

Aug 3, 2016

Aug 1, 2016

Jul 14, 2016

Jul 5, 2016

Jun 30, 2016

Jun 28, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

Jun 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here