Since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been unable to collect at least $480 million in antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties. In July 2004, CBP revised its policy regarding the continuous bonds (CB) that importers post. The policy potentially significantly increases the amount of the bonds for affected importers. Following the application of the policy to imports of shrimp as a "test case," U.S. importers and trading partners initiated legal action to prevent CBP from continuing to apply the policy. GAO examined why and how CBP revised its CB policy, how CBP implemented the revised policy, and the effects of the revised policy.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Bureau of Customs and Border Protection||To ensure that CBP's goal of ensuring collection of AD/CV duties without imposing an excessive burden on importers or international trade and commerce is achieved, the Commissioner of CBP should conduct a formal review of the lessons CBP can learn from implementing the revised CB policy on shrimp imports. Given CBP's stated desire not to unnecessarily burden importers, this review should include specific steps to systematically obtain importers' views on the policy. Moreover, the review should examine whether the policy appropriately addresses the underlying risks to CBP's collection of AD/CV duties.|
|Bureau of Customs and Border Protection||To ensure full transparency and remedy inconsistent implementation of the CB policy, the Commissioner of CBP should develop clear and consistent guidance for implementing the policy, take steps to inform covered importers of the basis upon which CBP will reduce importers' bond requirement, and ensure the guidance is uniformly applied.|