- At this time, it appears likely there will be a Federal Government shutdown beginning Saturday, September 30. Certain (but not all) federal employees will be furloughed during a shutdown. All federal employees will not be paid timely, and overtime may be affected.
- We do not expect a comprehensive breakdown of U.S. import, export, or Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) activity in the event of a shutdown. Normal Customs entries, export AES EEI submissions, in-bonds, etc., should be authorized timely, but where issues arise that require specific attention or decisions, expect government delays. Also expect delays in certain Partner Government Agency (PGA) import/export authorizations, even though most are now automated. Most port arrivals, in-bond transfers to FTZs, E-214 admissions, individual and weekly Customs entries, in-bond zone-to-zone transfers, in-bond imports and exports, and AES EEI submissions should not be affected, except when they involve certain PGAs. Expect a significant portion of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Commerce Department, etc., employees to be furloughed. In 2018-2019, FTZ Board activity was suspended. Expect delays or the suspension of export license requests and delayed or no response to BIS, DDTC, and OFAC inquiries. Further agency guidance is expected by the end of the week.
- The National Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) and other trade associations have initiated an industry-wide effort to ensure efficient trade operations during a government shutdown, urging CBP and PGAs on September 22, 2023, to allow certain trade functions to continue or to adopt new policies in the event of a shutdown.
- On September 14, the Congressional Research Service released an FAQ on Government Shutdowns and Executive Branch Operations.
- The 2018-2019 government shutdown, which was the longest government shutdown in history (35 days), created a variety of issues for multiple Federal agencies. GAO Study 20-377 best summarized trade issues that occurred during the shutdown and recommended internal process improvements. The GAO study emphasized that although CBP, the International Trade Administration (ITA), and USTR had operated under contingency plans during the shutdown, none fully addressed a government shutdown lasting more than five days.
- We will provide further updates as they are available.
For assistance in anticipation of, or during, the Federal government shutdown, please contact Marshall Miller, Sean Murray, Brian Murphy, Bryan Brown, or Linda King.