Washington, DC: In a letter to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) President Mary Jo Muoio voiced the industry's strong concerns over the Obama Administration’s proposed $49 million cuts in funding for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) FY 2010 budget.
"ACE is one of the government’s few technology success stories," wrote President Muoio, "Everything that matters at the border depends on the early completion of ACE. Whether we are trying to expedite trade, block tainted food products, intercept defective toys, seize counterfeit parts, detect antidumping violations, protect against radiological/ biological weapons – ACE provides the technology and the tools necessary to do all this in a way that does not stop the flow of trade."
The NCBFAA President told legislators "the longer it takes to roll out the remaining features of ACE, the more expensive it becomes. Until ACE is completed, the agency and the private sector both must operate on two systems – ACE and its predecessor ACS (Automated Commercial System)…. And for every year that goes by, the cost of providing life-support to ACS mounts, as do the accompanying inefficiencies when an outdated system is prolonged in this way."
President Muoio urged appropriators to restore full funding for ACE, reminding them that "it was not so long ago that a former Customs Commissioner challenged our industry to ‘automate or perish.’ Not only did we take the challenge, but also we quickly surpassed the government’s ability in this area. As an industry, we have developed a superior capability to move, track, analyze and manipulate data. The ACE/ITDS project gives the government the opportunity to keep up with industry’s progress and to join the realm of current business processes."
Headquartered in Washington, DC, the NCBFAA represents nearly 900 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.
NOTE: Click here for a copy of the letter.
* * * * *