What Would Happen To Imports In The Event Of A Government Shutdown?

In the event of a shutdown of the U.S. Government, it is our understanding that while certain personnel may be furloughed, the functions of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would not be affected. It does appear as though most agencies have been taking the necessary steps to assure the shutdown happens in an orderly fashion.

In the few hours remaining of this third short-term continuing resolution, Congress is still trying to hash out a budget agreement, but it's looking less and less likely to happen. In the meantime, American taxpayers are wondering how this will affect our daily lives. While this may not be a complete list of government services that will be affected, here is a brief synopsis of services that will stop or slow down.

  • National forests, parks and the Smithsonian would all be closed.
  • Federal Housing Administration and Small Business Administration will not be issuing loans.
  • Most “customer service” and administrative activities will be difficult to access, as these are the folks that will most likely be furloughed for the duration.

Keep in mind that services that are seen to be critical to the protection of lives and property are exempt from the shutdown, including services such as:

  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Federal Emergency Management operations
  • Social Security disbursements, etc.
  • Essential services, such as military operations and border security, including most commercial operations

For the record, this is not the first shutdown of the U. S. federal government. While it has been a few years since the last one occurred in 1996, lasting 21 days, we”ve been through five of these since 1981. In the meantime, Pacific Customs Brokers continues to be at your service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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About Author
April Collier
LCB, CCS

April Collier is a Sr. Trade Advisor with Pacific Customs Brokers USA with over 35 years of experience in international trade. April has been a valued member of the Pacific Customs Brokers team for 14 years, having taking the lead in implementing the Compliance department for U.S. imports. Her current responsibilities include advising and coaching clients on a variety of regulatory compliance matters, and include expertise in Antidumping & Countervailing matters. April develops, maintains and conducts various training workshops and seminars for staff and importers related to regulatory compliance, including Free Trade Agreements, Valuation and HTS classification. In addition to her regular duties, April is also the CTPAT coordinator for Pacific Customs Brokers.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.