U.S Government Shutdown – Potential Trade Activity Disruptions

While members of Congress actively negotiate government spending levels for fiscal year 2024, the United States is heading for its fourth partial government shutdown in the last decade. Trade agencies’ operations will be at risk if a government shutdown occurs. The House of Representatives and the Senate have a deadline of September 30th, 2023, to reach an agreement on spending bills for fiscal year 2024. If an agreement is not met, approximately 438 government agencies will suspend their day-to-day operations starting on October 1st, 2023.

Non-essential federal workers will be forced into furlough, which in return will disrupt various services vital to U.S. trade activities. Agencies and federal workers deemed “essential” will continue to provide important services, such as anything relating to national security, and activities necessary to protect life and property. With the length of the looming shutdown unknown, the trade industry must prepare for impacts on operations for importers, exporters, transportation and logistics companies, Customs brokers, and any other party involved in global trading with the United States.

We expect cargo to flow through our borders as normal should a government shutdown take place; however, there could be unexpected delays in clearing shipments if the goods require any other Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) involved with processing imported merchandise. Post summary activities such as refunds or responses to rulings are also expected to face delays in the importing process.