Customs Service:

Importing Community Should Benefit From Paired Program

GGD-88-118BR: Published: Aug 31, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the Customs Service's Port of Arrival Immediate Release and Enforcement Determination Program (PAIRED) to determine: (1) the extent of implementation; (2) its success in facilitating release of imported merchandise; (3) costs; and (4) importing community's attitude toward PAIRED and its potential replacement.

GAO found that: (1) the lack of clarity in the program's appropriation language may have discouraged some Customs officials, importers, and brokers from participating; (2) although 106 of the 282 Customs ports had the requisite computer capability to use PAIRED, only 51 reported PAIRED activity; (3) PAIRED entries accounted for less than 1 percent of the total entries filed during fiscal year 1988; and (4) Customs did not use PAIRED for merchandise subject to inspection or goods subject to import quotas or other agencies' jurisdiction. GAO also found that: (1) PAIRED advantages included faster release of merchandise, reductions in costs and paperwork, and increased business for inland brokers; (2) PAIRED disadvantages included use of in-bond shipment in case of denied PAIRED entry, poor communications between Customs' ports, transportation coordination problems, and decreased business for seaport brokers; and (3) although Customs proposed an alternative option that would allow direct shipment of merchandise to the importer, many members of the importing community opposed its implementation.

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