Proposed rule could hurt IT imports, groups say

Computers, software and related devices could become more expensive and more difficult to bring into the United States under a rule proposed by the Homeland Security Department, according to makers and shippers of such equipment.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to issue a final version of its so-called “10+2” rule by year’s end. It would require importers and carriers to file additional information about shipments electronically  before they arrive in the United States. The initial proposal was released in January.

Information technology, communications companies and trade groups say the rule, while providing some benefits, could slow innovation and make their products more costly.

“CBP’s proposed 10+2 rules would severely impact the Information, Communication and Technology sector’s ability to do business and pursue innovation,” the Information Technology Industry Council wrote in its comments on the rule The trade group’s membership has major federal IT contractors that include Accenture, Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.

The rule would severely affect businesses in the IT sector, said the High Technology Trade Coalition, an umbrella for groups such as the American Electronics Association and the Information Technology Association of America.

The rule has the potential to undermine existing global supply chain frameworks, raise costs and reduce innovation in the sector, and impose excessive and redundant data demands on IT companies that already are participating in departmental initiatives such as the Customs and Trade Partnership against Terrorism, trade groups contend.

The National Association of Manufacturers said the rule might stimulate moving manufacturing offshore to avoid the data requirements and their costs.

NAM also said most U.S. manufacturers are using just-in-time inventory systems that will need to be substantially changed in order to comply with the rule.

“In our assessment, the proposed rule will likely require significant costly changes in this system that will reverberate throughout the manufacturing sector. The costs, moreover, are likely to be substantially higher than those estimated in the CBP analysis,” NAM commented.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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