Senators blast agencies over circumvention

May 06, 2011 | 07:54 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  ITC, Finance Subcommittee on Trade, duty circumvention, transshipments, Ton Wyden, Allen Gina, John Thune, J.Scott Ballman Ronald Lorentzen

TORONTO — Washington isn’t known for its unanimity, but it appears that Democrats and Republicans agree that strict enforcement of trade rules is necessary, especially when it comes to customs fraud and duty evasion.

That’s the picture that emerged from a wide-ranging Senate Finance subcommittee hearing Thursday afternoon, as senators suggested Congressional action may be needed to force U.S. trade officials to boost efforts to stop duty circumvention.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), chairman of Finance’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, blasted what he called "unscrupulous" attempts to evade anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

"When it comes to ensuring that American business and workers have a level playing field to compete, anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws are the first line of defense," said Wyden, who chaired Thursday’s hearing. "But it’s not enough to just pass these laws; they need to be enforced. Duties don’t work unless they are assessed and collected."....

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