Uncollected anti-dumping duties

GAO reports:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been unable to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CV) duties. The Department of Commerce imposes these duties to remedy injurious unfair foreign trade practices (unfairly low prices or subsidies). The noncollection of AD/CV duties means that the U.S. government has not fully remedied the unfair trade practices and bears a substantial loss of revenue…

While over $600 million in AD/CV duties dating back to 2001 remain uncollected, they are highly concentrated among a few products, countries of origin, and importers… [A] relatively small number of importers owe the vast majority of these uncollected duties… According to CBP officials, prospects for collecting a sizeable portion of these bills are slim, because many of the importers have disappeared, have no assets, or have declared bankruptcy…

Four key factors contribute to uncollected AD/CV duties… First, because the U.S. AD/CV duty system involves the retrospective assessment of duties, the final amount of AD/CV duties an importer owes can significantly exceed the initial amount paid when the goods entered the country. Second, companies that did not previously export products subject to AD/CV duties, i.e., “new shippers,” pose two types of risks for collections. For example, new shippers can be assigned an AD/CV duty rate based on as few as one shipment, which can significantly underestimate the final duty rate… Third, all importers must provide a general bond to secure the payment of all types of duties, but CBP’s standard practice for setting the amount of this bond inadequately protects AD/CV duty revenue… Fourth, CBP collects minimal information regarding importers and does not conduct background or financial checks, which creates challenges to locating importers and collecting AD/CV duties.

What should we be paying more for? “Approximately 84 percent of the total amount of uncollected AD/CV duties is associated with four products, all from China: crawfish tail meat, garlic, honey, and mushrooms.”

I can’t say I’m too upset.

[HT: H&R]