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A final rule from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the new "10+2" filing regulations might not be forthcoming until 2009, according to Sandler & Travis Advisory Services, Inc. Customs had earlier said it expected to publish the rule by this fall, but that schedule appears to have been amended. The delay stems from a decision by Customs, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of Management and Budget to conduct a more detailed analysis of the costs involved in the action, Sandler & Travis said. The agencies were responding to a Sept. 16 letter to OMB from numerous industry groups, charging that Customs' initial cost-benefit analysis "grossly underestimated the impact on industry and failed to consider many of the costs that manufacturers will shoulder." They argued that the rule could cost business more than $20b a year. Additional expenses would include the need for shippers to maintain larger inventories, keep containers at ports for longer periods of time, and upgrade their information-technology systems to accommodate the new requirements. Last August, Sandler & Travis said, a bipartisan group of lawmakers claimed that the rule would lead to cargo delays of between two and five days. "As a result," the law firm said, "[Customs] is under pressure to take a more gradual approach to implementing the 10+2 requirements." Members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Trade Subcommittee have recommended that Customs issue an "interim final rule," then pilot-test it with a group of volunteer importers. Only after another comment period, followed by appropriate changes, should the rule be finalized, the lawmakers said. They believe Customs should demonstrate "meaningful benefits" from the rule, for companies participating in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative. The 10+2 rule requires that importers or their agents transmit to Customs 10 additional details relating to the origin and handling of applicable goods, at least 24 hours before cargo is loading at the port of origin, along with two more items specifying the vessel stow plan and container status messages.
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