Prolonged Government Shutdown Hinders International Trade Operations
October 15, 2013
As the U.S. government shutdown approaches its third week, its impact on the operations of agencies critical to international trade has become more apparent. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which monitors the safety of thousands of consumer products, is currently limited to only 5% of its staff. This has prevented CPSC from monitoring and screening products at port of entry and conducting safety investigations on consumer products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) furloughed 94% of its staff, including workers that review shipment documentation for pesticides. These shipments cannot be cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until approved documentation from the EPA is provided. Trade associations have urged the EPA to resume review of pesticide shipments in order to continue ongoing trade arrangements.
Recently, the U.S. Department of State announced that the Defense Technology Security Administration will resume operations processing licenses. Applicants should expect delays due to the voluminous amounts of existing licenses received during the government shutdown.
Furthermore, the federal judiciary indicated it will continue to operate until October 17, 2013. As courts continue to remain open, all proceeding and deadlines remain in effect, unless instructed otherwise. Additionally, the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) will remain active for electronic filing of documents with courts until funding for the courts are no longer available.
An earlier update on how trade agencies have been impacted by the shutdown can be found here.