WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) today released the following statement in response to a new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the effectiveness of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) trade enforcement activities. The report found that, over the last five fiscal years, CBP failed to fill four out of nine key trade enforcement positions, negatively impacting the agency’s ability to enforce U.S. trade laws. The GAO report is required by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 – commonly known as the “Customs bill.”
As Chairman Brady said:
“Our Customs bill, which became law last year, mandated this report because Congress believes that the American people deserve regular and specific information on how CBP carries out its important trade enforcement mission. This new report makes it clear that the Obama Administration consistently failed to prioritize staffing for key trade positions at CBP despite Congressional requirements. This failure by the prior Administration undermines CBP’s ability to enforce our trade laws and process legitimate cargo in a timely way – both of which are vitally important for protecting our economy as well as the health and safety of the American people.
“Fortunately, President Trump has made strong enforcement a top priority for his Administration. I look forward to working with Trump Administration to make sure that CBP implements its statutory requirements and GAO’s important recommendations.”
Subcommittee Chairman Reichert said:
“Our trade laws are only as strong as the tools and resources we have to enforce them. The report we requested in last year’s Customs bill, which I was proud to champion, indicates there is important work to be done to make sure our Customs and Border Protection personnel are fully equipped and the agency is fully staffed. This is necessary for CBP to fulfill its dual mission of ensuring lawful trade and facilitating the movement of goods. I appreciate the Trump Administration’s support for strong enforcement of our trade laws, and I am committed to working with them on this important mission.”