A Bush administration interagency group, meeting earlier this month to discuss a proposal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to eliminate the “first sale” rule of valuation for imported products, declined to withdraw the controversial plan and urged all interested parties to file public comments by an April 23rd deadline, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.
Representatives from the departments of Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce and State, and the National Security Council questioned Customs officials who acknowledged the plan is controversial, would potentially add significant costs to imported products, and, although the proposal had been in the works for several years, that Congress was never consulted.
Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and a coalition of importers and trade associations had requested that the administration withdraw the proposal at the interagency meeting, but are now focusing efforts on filing public comments in opposition and supporting Congressional efforts to block the plan.
Those efforts are already underway. Representative Kendrick Meek (D-17th, FL) and Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are circulating a Dear Colleague letter to CBP Commissioner Ralph Basham in each respective chamber. The letters request that CBP withdraw its plan as it would cause substantial damage to importers and ultimately the American consumer.
Representative Meek's letter can be accessed by clicking here. Senators Smith's and Wyden's letter can be accessed by clicking here. Please forward these letters on to your congressional delegation, and request that they sign on.
Also, earlier this month the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing during which Chairman Baucus expressed “deep concern with CBP's failure to consult with the Finance Committee before proposing such a sweeping change to longstanding U.S. practice” and was joined by Ranking Member Grassley in stating unease as to the impact the plan would have on small and medium size businesses.
A number of outdoor companies utilize the first sale method of valuation and would be substantially harmed by its elimination. OIA urges members of Congress to join Congressman Meek and Senators Smith and Wyden in their request that Commissioner Basham revoke the first sale elimination proposal.