House panel approves Customs budget

House panel approves Customs budget

WASHINGTON - The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade has authorized budgets of just more than $6 billion for Customs and Border Protection in the next two fiscal years, plus allocations for three other trade-related agencies.

The Customs Border Security and Trade Agencies Authorization Act of 2004 (H.R. 4418), also includes technical changes in the Tariff Act of 1930 that will allow importers to receive summary statements of entries and make duty payments on a monthly basis. These are two changes in the law that will pave the way for importers to use the Automated Commercial Environment.

The bill also includes a provision for the U.S. and Canadian customs officials to establish shared inspection facilities on the northern U.S. border.

The bill authorizes a Customs budget of $6.2 billion for fiscal 2005, and $6.5 billion for fiscal 2006. It authorizes $4 billion in 2005 and $4.3 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The U.S. Trade Representative is authorized $39.5 million for 2005 and 2006. The subcommittee approved $61.7 million in 2005 and $65.3 million for the International Trade Commission.

The bill still must get the approval of Ways and Means before it is presented to the House.

A bill with similar provisions has not come before the Senate Finance Committee.

Both houses of Congress have recessed for a week for the July 4 holiday.