House Passes Trade Bill -- IME Residue Provision Included
Just in time for the holidays, the House of Representatives passed another important bill with provisions benefitting IME members. Specifically, on December 11, 2015 the House passed the customs reauthorization conference report, which will modernize and streamline customs functions to help facilitate trade and improve enforcement of import regulations. Included in the bill was a provision that allows de minimis residues of US goods in instruments of international traffic (IIT) to be returned to the United States without being classified, manifested and duty paid. This provision overturns the Customs & Border Protection’s (CBP) attempt to reverse its longstanding policy that allowed IITs returning to the United States with trace amounts of residue to be considered empty and not regulated for Custom’s purposes.
The strong vote of 256 to 158 vote sends the conference bill to the Senate for on final vote before it heads to the President’s desk for his signature. It could come up as early as this week, however, it may be delayed over opposition to a ban on internet sales tax that was attached to the conference report. IME was part of a coalition that advocated for the container residue change.