NCBFAA President Slams MOVEMENT Act’s HMT Increase

Mary Jo Muoio
Phone: (973) 402-8300

Jon Kent
Phone: (202) 223-6222
For Immediate Release

Washington, DC: In a letter today to Peter A. DeFazio, Chairman, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) President Mary Jo Muoio expressed strong opposition to a measure that more than triples the existing Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) on cargo shipped into the U.S. to fund highway, rail and port projects. The increase is contained in HR 2355, the Making Opportunities Via Efficient and More Effective National Transportation Act of 2009 (the MOVEMENT Act). 
       Despite the fact the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund enjoys a growing surplus of more than $5 billion and already reaps approximately $1.3 billion per year, this legislation seeks to substantially increase the tax. 
       “With no cap on the total fee for any single shipment, higher value products would bear a disproportionate brunt of the increased tax,” she wrote. “This misalignment between the fees paid and the services for which they are charged would further undermine the legitimacy of this so-called ‘user fee.’”
        Notwithstanding the very real infrastructure needs throughout the country, the addition of another cargo fee on top of the multitude of fees already in effect “creates a dampening impact on trade in the best of times.”
        “Now, as U.S. companies face the most serious recession of our time, these fees amount to a stifling tax on the components and materials needed to produce a finished product,” President Muoio noted. “Adding cost upon cost to the supply chain is not a way to revive U.S. businesses and the economy.”
        She pointed out that trade at the nation’s ports has dropped 30% to 40% in many locations with the attendant job losses and business closures. “Now is not the time for an increased tax on containers or cargo,” she concluded. 
       Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA represents nearly 860 member companies with 100,000 employees in international trade - the nation's leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs), NVOCCs and air cargo agents, serving more than 250,000 importers and exporters. Established in 1897 in New York, NCBFAA is the effective national voice of the industry. Through its various committees, counsel and representatives, the Association maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members. It keeps them informed of these and other related issues through its weekly Monday Morning eBriefing and various meetings as well as conferences throughout the year.  

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