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Member Update:
CBP Hosts Another Call on Coronavirus Trade & Cargo Impact 
Good afternoon,
We monitored another call this afternoon held by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pertaining to the COVID-19 impact on trade & cargo and wanted to immediately share our notes with members. If you have any questions pertaining to this information, please direct them to the Airforwarders Association or CBP at tradeevents@cbp.dhs.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trade and Cargo Update Call March 19, 2020

  • Content of the call is not quotable for media use.

Remarks by Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen :
  • No restrictions on cargo imposed by last week's Proclamation
  • Non-essential travel between the U.S. & Canada will not apply to cargo 
  • "Essential" travel is for medical, educational, first responders, military, humanitarian personnel
  • CBP agents will be using discretion in allowing people to cross
  • Land border traffic is already down 65-75%
  • Commercial truck crossings remain stable, but Detroit & Laredo are expecting reductions due to automobile factory closings recently announced
  • CBP has announced no hours of operations changes
  • CBP closed Global Entry/Nexus service centers to reduce the risk of contagion spread
    • Enrollment upon arrival will still be available at airports
    • There has been an uptick in CBP employees testing positive for coronavirus
    • About 30 CBP officers affected so far
    • CBP may announce border agent staffing changes if this increases drastically, but so now this level is manageable

Remarks by Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith :
  • Many CBP employees continue to work from home
  • Working with the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) to filter stakeholder recommendations received
  • A key recommendation is for CBP to issue a delay in duty payments
    • CBP is researching this on a case by case basis 
    • Randy Mitchell should receive urgent requests to request extensions and with the local entry specialist in copy.
    • CBP will have an answer on a more comprehensive approach on 3-4 days
    • Bond sufficiency notices-there will be a ten-day delay before notices of insufficiency are sent

Remarks by Executive Director Cargo & Conveyance Security Thomas Overacker:
  • Please keep suggestions and issues coming into CBP
    • Specific must accompany submissions
  • CBP is not anticipating any impacts to cargo clearances and releases

Remarks by Executive Director of Trade Policies & Programs John Leonard

General Discussion

  • If significant agent staffing issues result, CBP will consider an extension on entry deadlines provided specific hardship cases are communicated to the agency.

  • The passenger planes flying just cargo can land at any U.S. airport and the 13 city restriction listed in the Proclamation will not apply.

  • If a passenger flight with passengers and cargo arriving from an international destination to one of the 13 allowable airports diverts to another U.S. city due to mechanical or weather issues, CBP will determine if the cargo can be removed even though the passengers must stay on the aircraft.

  • There will be a Federal Register Notice tomorrow (Friday) helping to provide clarification as to the definition of "Essential" travel at the border checkpoints.

  • CBP has not implemented any additional screening measures of truck drivers crossing the southern border into the United States

  • The Mexico customs system has been experiencing technical issues for two days, creating truck delays into Mexico from the U.S. at the southern border.
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