In light of the 2018-2019 US government shutdown, it has left costing the US nearly £11 billion.

The shutdown was announced on December 2018, and remained for five weeks (35 days), finally ending on January 27th 2019. The government standstill was set in place by president, Donald Trump, in retaliation to the funding of the Mexican boarder wall.

This government action has affected US citizens in many forms, including 800,000 workers, federal services, tourist attractions, trade and the stock of domestic produce. Shops were left with minimal stock.

According to reports, almost 90% of employees that work at the Department of Commerce have been affected by the shutdown. Furthermore, during the shutdown, The International Trade Administration (“ITA”) and the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) were forced to operate with a minimal amount of staff. Due to a lack of staff and funding, ITA terminated Antidumping and Countervailing investigations. These investigations are usually carried out under the threat of penalties for foreign governments and manufactures selling goods at less than fair value.

Customs were also affected, as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decided not to apply tariff exclusions until 10 business days after the shutdown ended. This meant costing importers more, as importers who qualified for exclusions during the shutdown would have had to continue paying additional tariffs on the affected goods. It has been reported that newly released 301 exclusions have not been updated on ACE (22/01/2019).

During the 5-week shutdown, The International Trade Commission (“ITC”) was forced to close. This has a knock-on effect to every ITC economic impact reports, which could cause major delays in the trade industry. Due to the standstill, a revision of all HTS (Harmonised Tariff Schedule) classification could not be updated until the ITC reopens. The ITC is now expected to publish their report on the economic affects of the United States-Canada- Mexico Agreement (USCMA) to Congress on March 15, 2019, however there has been speculation over whether this deadline will be met, due to the “ceased operations” that are still set in place.

With less workers and funding, this meant that the trade industry was faced with problems with timing. Deadlines were postponed, meaning that trade will have to play catch-up over the next couple of months to resume to normality.