Earlier this week, the Government Accounting Office issued a report entitled “Antidumping and Countervailing Duties: CBP Action Needed to Reduce Duty Processing Errors and Mitigate Nonpayment Risk.”
In the first paragraph, the GAO observes as follows:
“GAO estimates that about $2.3 billion in antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties owed to the U.S. government were uncollected as of mid-May 2015, based on its analysis of AD/CV duty bills for goods entering the United States in fiscal years 2001–2014. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that it does not expect to collect most of that debt”. GAO found that most unpaid AD/CV duty bills “were concentrated among a small number of importers, with 20 accounting for about 50 percent of the $2.3 billion uncollected. CBP data show that most of those importers stopped importing before receiving their first AD/CV duty bill. As GAO has previously reported, the U.S. AD/CV duty system involves the retrospective assessment of duties, such that the final amount of AD/CV duties an importer owes can significantly exceed the initial amount paid at the estimated duty rate when the goods entered the country.”
Their summary recommendation is as follows: “GAO recommends that CBP (1) issue guidance to collect and analyze data on a regular basis to find and address the causes of AD/CV duty liquidation errors…; (2) regularly conduct a comprehensive risk analysis that considers likelihood as well as significance of risk factors related to duty nonpayment; and (3) 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.”
This report, coupled with recent trade regulation giving Customs greater enforcement power likely portends a possible significant uptick in ADD/CVD enforcement. The full report can be accessed at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-542.
Compliments of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP – a member of the EACCNY