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UPDATE: Impacts to US trade – Government shutdown averted for now

What to expect for brokerage and trade operations in the likelihood of the US government not averting a shutdown again by November 17th

United States Capitol

The US government shutdown that was set for October 1, 2023 was successfully averted, with government operations and functions currently running under normal circumstances and is expected to do so until its next deadline of November 17, 2023. If unable to pass a vote and avert a government shutdown for a second time, many broad economic systems responsible for trade would be indirectly effected, potentially dampening domestic and international demand for goods and services including imports, exports, and regulatory agencies. Here's what to expect if a shutdown occurs:

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP): Considered law enforcement that is necessary for the safety of life and protection of property. Ports will remain open, cargo security and revenue collection will remain operational. However, some back-office support functions will likely be furloughed. These may include refunds, ruling requests, audits, responding to documents requests, etc. Port personnel will also not have their usual administrative support as those will likely be part of the furloughed staff.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Entry reviews and exams will continue as well as high risk investigations, recalls and critical public health issues. Potentially 40-45% of staff will be furloughed so delays are expected in the processing of import transactions.
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA): Staff are expected to be furloughed, expect delays.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Staff are expected to be furloughed, expect delays.
  • Other government agencies (PGA): Responses will vary depending on their operational capacity, expect delays.
  • Enforcement of deadlines relating to Protests, Drawback Claims, CF 28/29 responses and the like will continue. Note – CBP may not be able to adhere to their own timelines, but importers will need to do so.
  • International Trade Commission (ITC): Will be furloughed and therefore updates to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule on it’s web site won’t be updated till they return.
  • CTPAT: There should be no impact on the program.
  • Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS): Previously, BIS has shut down regular services including export license processing, classification requests, advisory opinions, etc. Export controls enforcement activities are expected to continue.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA): Are considered law enforcement and are required to work throughout the shutdown (without pay). In past shutdowns many have called in sick or quit, leading to significant delays at airports including the export of air cargo and ground handling agents (GHA).
  • Air Traffic Controllers: Will be required to work, according to recent contingency plans, though absenteeism could be a problem. Some airports had to suspend operations during a shutdown in 2019 when traffic controllers called in sick.
  • Training for 1,000 new air-traffic controllers would stop, leaving the system understaffed. The Transportation Security Administration would not be able to hire new airport security screeners ahead of the busy holiday travel season.


DSV’s compliance teams will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation very closely in the event that a long agreement is not reached by the deadline. For additional information please contact your local DSV representative or email us at

View DSV's dedicated customs brokerage services:

DSV Customs Brokerage

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