Five CRCBFA missionaries joined customs brokers and freight forwarders from up and down the US West Coast at the Pacific Coast Council Trade Mission to DC, March 22nd through 24th. This annual trade mission is packed with unparalleled engagement with federal agencies, which are charged with designing and implementing trade legislation with our elected congressmen and women. This year’s mission was especially energized due to the urgent national trade agenda compounded by unrelenting west coast port congestion, continued challenges here at the Port of Portland, and CBP’s firm deadlines for ACE implementation.
The National Trade Agenda Hits Home
Orrin G. Hatch (R –Utah), Senate Finance Committee Chairman, and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the committee’s Ranking Member, are working toward concluding the negotiations for the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), hoping to introduce the bill to lawmakers by mid-April. If TPA makes it to a vote and passes, the trade community is hopeful the TPA will enable quick passage of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), as well as the renewal of General System of Preferences (GSP) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The excitement over the potential passage of multiple pro-trade pieces of legislation is quickly overshadowed by the TPA’s stalled discussions. Senator Ron Wyden has been routinely and strongly opposed by the union movement, as well as the environmental lobbies. By some accounts, a lot of the 2015 environmental lobby budget has been pushed into Oregon. The feedback from Senator Wyden - and all other congressmen and women visited on the mission - was that the pro-trade voice has been quiet. The CRCBFA reassured Senator Wyden and his colleagues on Capitol Hill that we can strengthen the trade industry’s voice in this conversation.
ACE Deadlines Are FIRM
An executive order from the President has created a big push to enact ACE as the Single Window, a system through which importers, exporters, and 47 participating government agencies can communicate and conduct trade business. In the past, progress towards creating the ACE structure had been discussed with little action, leaving the trade community initially skeptical. However, especially with the President’s support, the current projected ACE implementation dates are firm. Here is a brief timeline on projected functionality:
Deployment of Phase E April Release on April 18th, 2015
Deployment of Phase E July Release on June 27th, 2015
Cargo release finalized including remote location filings (RLF)
Post release functionality
Export validation/holds and truck manifests
PGA integration continued
Mandatory Filing Date of November 1, 2015
CBP’s goal is to have all core trade processing in ACE by 2016
The Port of Portland’s Story is Shared
The current port situation in Portland is dire. Some of our congressmen and women were surprised to learn that the tentative agreement between ILWU and PMA from February 20th has done little to relieve the burdens on the Port of Portland and the importers and exporters of the region. The CRCBFA missionaries explained the many challenges here in Portland and their negative impact on 490,000 jobs connected to Oregon trade. Federal support for further mediation between ILWU (at both the national and local level), the national level of PMA, and ICTSI in the Philippines was discussed and strongly encouraged by the CRCBFA.
The PCC Mission to DC is a powerful experience, one that allows the trade industry direct connection to the epicenter of trade policy and legislation. But we must continue to apply that energy harnessed by the Mission to our local efforts here in the Pacific Northwest. It is the responsibility of each individual in our association to continue the fight here at home. For information on how to become involved in the CRCBFA Trade Task Force, please contact CRCBFA President Judy Haggin at firstname.lastname@example.org