A broad deferral programme announced by the the US Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection, allowing importers to avoid payment of trade remedies – including anti-dumping, countervailing, Section 232, and Section 301 duties – would have a devastating effect on trade-impacted industries and their employees throughout the USA, according to the Committee to Support US Trade Laws (CSUSTL).

The CSUSTL, a national organisation of companies, trade associations, labour unions, law firms and individuals located across the USA, has written to Mark A Morgan, acting Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, stating that many US manufacturers have currently shuttered their businesses or are operating at significantly reduced capacity and that incentivizing the entry of imports into the US market under these circumstances 'substantially increases the challenges faced by trade-affected domestic industries and threatens the livelihoods of millions of working women and men across the country'.

According to the CSUSTL, any duty deferral programme that included extensions on the payment of trade remedies would lead to massive non-payment of these duties. "As US Customs and Border Protection has found, inadequate security for the payment of anti-dumping and countervailing duties at the time of import entry has led to billions of dollars in unpaid bills to the US Treasury," the CSUSTL explained, adding that 'a deferral of a requirement to pay cash deposits at import entry would act as an invitation to foreign entities to act as importers of record for goods brought into the United States.'

The CSUSTL argues that once the deferral period ended, US Customs and Border Protection would have no meaningful way to collect duties owed.

The organisation is calling upon President Trump to reject proposals for the deferral of payment of estimated duties, taxes, and fees.

The CSUSTL is committed to preserving and enhancing US trade laws and supporting trade policies that benefit the United States-based productive economy.