U.S. importers and exporters take note: Customs and Border Protection, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Industry and Security have issued announcements or taken actions as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 virus on their ongoing operations. Specifically—
• Requests to Delay the Payment of Duties: In CSMS #42097586, CBP announced that it will approve on a case-by-case basis requests by importers to delay the payment of estimated duties, taxes and fees as a result of the COVID-19 virus, and that additional information will be forthcoming on the specific process.
• Requests for Binding CBP Rulings: CBP announced that the National Commodity Specialist Division continues to accept binding ruling requests; however, requests submitted in hardcopy and the submission of physical samples will likely result in processing delays. Therefore, importers preparing to submit requests are urged to utilize the online e-Ruling Template and submit color photographs in lieu of paper submissions and physical samples.
• 10-Day Extension for Termination/Replacement of Customs Bonds: In CSMS #60152, CBP announced that it will grant a 10-day extension for the termination and replacement of insufficient customs bonds for which notices were issued with a deadline of March 21, 2020. Accordingly these bonds should be scheduled for termination by March 31st with a termination date of no later than April 15, 2020. CBP noted that it is operating under normal procedures and can complete processing and reviews in a timely manner—therefore, the April bond sufficiency reviews and notices will not be postponed.
• Longer DDTC Processing Times: The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) announced that export license applications requested under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), as well as commodity jurisdiction requests and general correspondences, are still being accepted by the agency but will experience longer processing times.
• ITAR Registration Applications and Renewals: New and renewal ITAR registration requests are still being accepted by the DDTC via the DECCS, and are being processed as they are submitted.
• New Process for Submitting ITAR Voluntary Disclosures to DTCC: Companies preparing voluntary disclosures of ITAR violations are encouraged to submit them in PF format via email to DTCC-CaseStatus@state.gov in lieu of hardcopy submissions. Disclosures should be made on company letterhead, and duplicate hardcopy submissions are not required to be submitted.
• New Process for Submitting Voluntary Self-Disclosures and Data Requests to the Census Bureau: Companies preparing voluntary self-disclosure of Foreign Trade Regulations violations (i.e., Automated Export System violations) are asked to submit them electronically to the Census Bureau’s Trade Regulations Branch to firstname.lastname@example.org in password-protected filed. Requests for data should also be submitted electronically to the Data User & Trade Outreach Branch to email@example.com. These submissions may also be submitted via fax (301-763-8835).
• Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): The BIS has not yet published information on the effects of COVID-19 on its operations; however, the BIS canceled the export control forum slated for April 2020.
If you have any questions relating to the current operational status of U.S. trade agencies as a result of COVID-19, or other international trade-related issues, please contact Melissa Proctor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Peggy Chaplin Louie (email@example.com) at Miller Proctor Law PLLC (https://millerproctorlaw.com).