Bureau of, the agency of the U. S. Department of the Treasury that collects customs duties. The collection of customs revenue was authorized by Congress in 1789. The collectors of the original Customs Service acted independently, however, and as a result merchants and shippers in different parts of the country were treated differently. This unsatisfactory situation was changed over the years by measures designed to assure uniform treatment in all ports of entry. The present Bureau of Customs was established in 1927.
The basic functions of the bureau, which is headed by a commissioner of customs appointed by the secretary of the treasury, are to assess and collect duties and taxes on imported merchandise; to control merchandise imported into or exported from the United States, and the carriers of such merchandise; and to prevent smuggling, including smuggling of such contraband as narcotics.
Though an arm of the Treasury, Customs enforces the regulations of many other government agencies, working, for example, with the Department of Commerce in control of exports and collection of statistical data; with the Patent and Copyright offices in enforcement of copyright, trademark, and patent restrictions; and with the State Department in munitions control and the enforcement of neutrality laws.
Until 1816, customs assessments were used mainly for revenue purposes. Thereafter, with the passage of the Tariff Act of 1816, their principal function was the protection of American industry. Nonetheless, Customs produces more money for the government than any other agency except the Internal Revenue Service.
For years the Customs Bureau was under fire because of antiquated procedures and excessively detailed and complicated tariff laws and regulations. The Customs Simplification Act of 1953 improved procedure. The Congress, however, rejected a presidential reorganization plan that would have placed collectors of customs under the merit system. This reorganization was accomplished in 1965 as part of a general streamlining of the bureau.
There are approximately 300 customs ports in the United States - of which the busiest is New York, where about one third of the nation's international trade is handled. Nine regional offices supervise the port operations. Trends in technology and trade are putting new challenges to the Customs service.
Huge bulk vessels and supersonic transports require the development of methods and facilities to process large numbers of people and large amounts of merchandise in a short period of time. The vast network of personnel needed to thwart large-scale pilfering, smuggling, illegal importation of narcotics, undervaluation of merchandise, counterfeiting, and crimes aboard aircraft includes inspectors, appraisers, examiners, laboratory technicians, customs agents, port investigators, and "sky marshals".
Customs duties serve two major purposes: they restrict imports of goods into the country, and they provide revenue for the government. Сustoms duties serve as a protection to domestic companies against competition from foreign companies.
There are two bases for assessing duties-specific and ad valorem. Specific duties may be assessed by quantity, weight, or measure, without regard to value. The duty on long-staple cotton, for example, may be 7 cents per pound. Ad valorem duties, however, are assessed as a percent of the dutiable value. The duty on cigarette lighters, for example, may be 45% of the dutiable value.
In the United States there are several ways of determining the dutiable value. It may be the price paid by the importer; the wholesale price of the product in the country from which the goods were exported; or the wholesale price of a similar item manufactured and sold in the United States.
Text-study | III. Choose a), b) or c) to complete the following statements about the text. | Read the text to fulfil the tasks | VIII. Explain the italicized grammar constructions in the following sentences. | Read the text to fulfil the tasks | Other Brazil customs information | Read the text to fulfil the tasks | Read the text to fulfil the tasks | III. Choose a), b) or c) to complete the following statements about the text. | VII. Render the following text in English. |