The Trump Administration has implemented regulatory changes to continue its predecessors’ decade-long efforts to streamline requirements for exporters and importers. One such project, dubbed the International Trade Data System or ITDS, seeks to modernize and streamline procedures and required government paperwork for exporters and importers while eliminating redundant requirements. This process began in 2006 under George W. Bush when legislation was passed calling for the creation of a single electronic system that would serve as a one stop shop for the government agencies and businesses involved in international trade to exchange necessary documentation.
In 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating a new online system called the Automated Commercial Environment or ACE. Continuing this trend under President Trump, the U.S. Census Bureau recently issued a Final Rule amending the regulations and implementing a system of tracking numbers (Internal Transaction Numbers or ITNs) to help businesses track shipments that undergo scheduling or port changes more efficiently. The Final Rule also includes revised timeframes governing split shipment filings and additional language clarifying the specifics of such split shipment filing requirements. The Census Bureau Final Rule makes over twenty amendments to the Foreign Trade Regulations. These changes should make life easier for exporters and importers, lessening the reporting burden, and speeding up processing times.
Thus far ACE has made advances in trade facilitation, minimizing processing and approval times from days to minutes. While such changes are in line with President Trump’s pledge to slash overly-burdensome regulations for businesses, they also are a continuation of efforts that stretch back three presidential terms. The President so far has chosen to stay the course on this practical initiative, as well as on more controversial issues like relations with Cuba, Iran and China. With USTR Lighthizer confirmed we will see what happens next.