U.S. Government Shutdown Looms – What You Need to Know

Trade Update • Sept 27, 2023

U.S. Congress is currently embroiled in a contentious standoff concerning spending bills, raising the spectre of a potential federal government shutdown set to kick in at 12:01 a.m. ET on October 1, 2023. This deadlock is rooted in a range of issues spanning fiscal priorities, partisan divisions, and policy disagreements.


Should this impasse persist and lead to a government shutdown, a notable aspect to consider is its impact on various government agencies and the broader economy. While the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) workforce is poised to maintain normal operations to facilitate the clearance of goods, the situation becomes more precarious for Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others. These PGAs may experience staffing shortages, potentially leaving them unable to carry out their duties effectively. Consequently, this staffing inadequacy could contribute to delays in the clearance process for goods.

While CBP personnel will continue to clear goods, importers, exporters, and carriers may face delays in processing documentation, as well as longer wait times at U.S. borders.

NCBFAA Leads Industry Wide Initiative

Silver Spring, MD, Sept. 22, 2023 – Taking no chances with what appears to be a likely federal government shutdown starting Oct. 1, NCBFAA is leading an effort among 40 other trade associations to develop a comprehensive strategy with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) to ensure that legitimate trade is permitted to efficiently enter and exit our nation’s ports during a shutdown.

Specifically, the trade community requests:

  • Private sector access to the CBP “War Room.”
  • PGA Presence in the CBP “War Room.”
  • CBP HQ, Ports, and Centers must coordinate.
  • CBP daily briefings with the private sector.
  • Trade must flow both ways.
  • All tangential trade functions must be considered essential.

“While we remain hopeful that a government shutdown can still be avoided, the current political environment in Washington is making us take a cautious approach,” said NCBFAA President Jose D. “JD” Gonzalez. “That is why it’s imperative for us to take action with CBP and the PGAs now in order that we can work with these agencies to keep our nation’s trade moving efficiently and securely.”

NCBFAA has already developed a special Government Shutdown webpage on its NCBFAA.org website in which timely informational updates related to trade from CBP and the PGAs for customs broker, freight forwarder and NVOCC members and their customers will be available.

“NCBFAA will keep its members informed with real-time information about what they need to know in order to perform their day-to-day business activities during the shutdown,” said NCBFAA Executive Vice President Megan Montgomery. “It’s all-hands-on-deck in our association.”

Read the entire Sept. 22 Joint Trade Industry Statement to CBP and the PGAs here.


GHY will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.

Questions or concerns about if your goods are affected? We are here to help, contact us, or your Client Care Manager.


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