Summary: H.R.3935 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.3935. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (11/26/1991)

Customs Modernization and Informed Compliance Act - Title I: Improvements in Customs Enforcement - Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to revise customs procedures with respect to: (1) electronic transmission of forged, altered, or false data to the United States Customs Service with regard to the entry of imported merchandise; (2) penalties for failure to declare imported controlled substances; (3) examination and detention of imported merchandise; (4) certain recordkeeping requirements; (5) examination of books and witnesses; (6) review of protests by the Customs Service; (7) a repeal of a provision relating to reliquidation on account of fraud; (8) penalties relating to manifests and for fraud, gross negligence, and negligence; (9) unlawful unlading or transshipment; (10) public access to Customs Service interpretative rulings and decisions; and (11) seizure of imported merchandise.

Title II: National Customs Automation Program - Directs the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary) to establish the National Customs Automation Program which shall be an automated and electronic system for the processing of commercial imports.

Provides for electronic data transmission relating to: (1) drawback claim records; (2) effective date of rates of duty on imported merchandise; (3) merchandise manifests; (4) imported merchandise invoices; (5) entry and release of imported merchandise; (6) admissibility in administrative and judicial proceedings of electronically transmitted information; (7) appraisement and liquidations of imported merchandise; (8) the payment of duties; (9) abandonment and damage to imported merchandise; (10) protests of Customs Service decisions; (11) refunds and errors; (12) bonds and other security; and (13) customs house brokers.

Sets forth provisions with respect to customs officer's immunity in regard to the appraisement of or collection of duties on imported merchandise.

Title III: Miscellaneous Amendments to the Tariff Act of 1930 - Amends the Act to authorize the Secretary to disregard the difference, but not less than $20 (currently ten dollars), between the total estimated duties deposited with respect to imported merchandise and the total amount actually due on such merchandise.

Authorizes the Secretary to admit duty-free: (1) gifts from persons in foreign countries to persons in the United States whose value does not exceed $100 (currently, $50), or $200 (currently, $100) in the case of gifts from persons in the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa; (2) articles accompanying persons for personal or household use whose value does not exceed $200 (currently, $25); or (3) articles whose value does not exceed $200 (currently, five dollars) in other cases. Authorizes the Secretary to waive collection of duties due on merchandise that are worth less than $20, or such greater amount as prescribed by him or her.

Requires masters of vessels that have visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise while outside the U.S. territorial sea to report their arrival to the nearest customs facility.

Provides for the electronic transmission of vessel documentation to the Customs Service.

Requires the following vessels to report to the nearest Customs Service facility within 24 hours (or other period of time) as provided after arrival to a U.S. port: (1) vessels from a foreign port; (2) foreign vessels from a domestic port; (3) U.S. vessels having bonded or foreign merchandise for which entry has not been made; or (4) vessels which visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise outside the U.S. territorial sea. Permits masters of vessels to make preliminary entry of their vessel with the Customs Service in lieu of or before formal entry is made.

Requires U.S. and foreign vessels to obtain clearance from the Customs Service before proceeding from a U.S. port for: (1) a foreign port; (2) another U.S. port (for foreign vessels only), or (for U.S. vessels only) another U.S. port if the vessel has bonded or foreign merchandise for which entry has not been made; or (3) outside the U.S. territorial sea to visit a hovering vessel or to receive merchandise.

Exempts from entry and clearance requirements certain passenger vessels on excursion from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the British Virgin Islands and returning, U.S. documented vessels with recreational endorsement, or (as under current law) undocumented U.S. pleasure vessels not engaged in trade, except such vessels must comply upon arrival with specified customs reporting requirements and navigation laws and must not have visited any hovering vessel. Prohibits merchandise, passengers, or baggage from being unladen from any vessel required to make entry or vehicle required to report its arrival until such entry or report of arrival is made and a permit for unlading has been issued by the Customs Service. Authorizes the issuance of such permits through electronic data transmission.

Requires every importer of record of merchandise to make and file electronically or otherwise a declaration stating whether such merchandise is imported pursuant to a purchase or purchase agreement and that all other required documents are true and correct.

Provides for electronic data transmission of entry information to complete any incomplete entry of imported merchandise.

Declares entered or unentered merchandise that remains in customs custody for six months, with an extension at the importer's request of up to a year (currently, for merchandise that remains in custody for one year), and in which duties, taxes, fees, storage, and other charges have not been paid, to be unclaimed merchandise which shall be appraised and sold by the Customs Service at public auction. Authorizes the sale of imported gunpowder and other explosive merchandise that if permitted to remain in a bonded warehouse for six months (currently, one year) would depreciate in value to the extent that its sale would be insufficient to pay such duties, taxes, fees, storage, and other charges.

Authorizes the Customs Service, in lieu of sale, to provide notice to interested parties that, unless, within 30 days of such notice, the subject merchandise is entered or withdrawn for consumption and payment made of all duties, taxes, and fees, transfer and storage charges and other expenses that title to such merchandise shall be deemed to vest in the United States. Authorizes the Secretary to pay to a party that has lost a substantial interest in merchandise by virtue of title vesting in the United States, and can establish that it did not receive a vesting notice, an amount from the Customs Forfeiture Fund equal to what such party would have received if such merchandise had been sold and a proper claim filed. Requires any surplus of the proceeds from the sale of such merchandise to be deposited into the Fund if a claim for such surplus is not filed with the Customs Service.

Authorizes the Secretary to prescribe regulations for the declaration and entry of merchandise whose value does not exceed a certain amount, not more than $2,500 (currently not greater than $1,250), and/or when different commercial facilitation and risk considerations that may vary for different classes or kinds of merchandise or different classes of transactions may dictate.

Requires the Secretary upon seizure and forfeiture of imported merchandise bearing a counterfeit mark to dispose of such merchandise more than 90 days (currently, one year) after such forfeiture.

Authorizes withdrawal of imported merchandise from a warehouse for transfer to a foreign trade zone.

Authorizes the Customs Service to order the destruction or other appropriate disposition of vessels, vehicles, aircraft, merchandise, or baggage that has been seized under the customs laws if it determines that the expense of keeping such items is disportionate to their value (currently applies only to items of less than $1,000 in value).

Requires actions for fraud, gross negligence, and negligence with respect to imported merchandise to be instituted within five years after entry of such merchandise or discovery of such fraud.

Requires the Customs Service to be reimbursed the administrative cost and expense incurred in collecting fees on behalf of other Federal agencies.

Authorizes the Secretary to settle, for no more than $50,000 in each case, claims for personal injury, death, or damage to, or loss of, privately owned property caused by an investigative or law enforcement officer of the Customs Service.

Authorizes the Secretary to contract with persons for collection services to recover indebtedness arising under the customs laws, provided the Customs Service has exhausted all administrative efforts to collect such indebtedness.

Title IV: Miscellaneous, Consequential and Conforming Amendments to Other Laws - Amends the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to increase the dollar amount of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes and cigars that can be entered duty-free by persons returning to the United States. Increases the amount on such items where a duty is provided.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code and other specified Federal law with respect to: (1) certain expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund; and (2) coastwise trade vessels and U.S. vessels visiting foreign ports.

Repeals specified provisions of Federal law.