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Statement on Signing H.R. 8149 Into Law - Customs Procedural Reform and Simplification Act of 1978

October 04, 1978

I have signed H.R. 8149, the Customs Procedural Reform and Simplification Act of 1978. This is the first major legislation in more than 20 years to streamline Customs clearance of merchandise and passengers.

During those 20 years, the value of U.S. imports and duties collected has increased fivefold; the number of travelers entering the United States each year has more than doubled, from 130 million to over 270 million.

This bill responds to that growth in three major ways. First, it enables the Customs Service to improve procedures for handling the documentary and financial aspects of import transactions, while ensuring timely collection of import statistics. Second, it expedites Customs procedures for processing goods and travelers at a reduced administrative cost. Third, it ensures due process of law for persons accused of Customs violations.

Under this new law, the Customs Service can improve its automation in processing imports and reducing the number of financial transactions between importers and the Government. I am especially pleased with the increase in the personal exemption for travelers from $100 to $300 and the new 10 percent rate of duty for all tourist purchases, which, along with expedited passenger clearance, will make entering the country a quicker and more pleasant experience.

The tourist economies of the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa will also benefit from an increase of $200 to $600 in the personal exemption, 5 percent flat rate of duty for all goods purchased in those islands, and a new provision which permits the exemption and the flat rate to apply to purchases shipped home as well as those accompanying the traveler.

My administration is strongly committed to eliminating cumbersome procedures, reducing paperwork, facilitating the flow of world trade, and improving the Government's responsiveness to the needs of the traveling public. This bill addresses each of these goals. I am pleased to sign it.

NOTE: As enacted, H.R. 8149 is Public Law 95-410, approved October 3.

Jimmy Carter, Statement on Signing H.R. 8149 Into Law - Customs Procedural Reform and Simplification Act of 1978 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243746

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