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Common Terminology: Government Agencies

Government Agencies

(Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) A major division of the USDA charged with inspecting animal and plant products. APHIS, consists of sub-organizations, including Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), which inspects shipments of plants, plant products and a very few animal based products, and issues phytosanitary inspection certificates, and Veterinary Services, which examines live animals and issues health certificates. This agency is also responsible for inspection of all imported goods within the above categories. APHIS administers the wood packing material program.
(U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) This is a US Government agency, commonly referred to as BATF (or sometimes ATF), under the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and is responsible for implementing, administering and enforcing U.S. federal laws and regulations which govern and tax the manufacturer for commerce in and use of alcoholic beverages and other products which contain taxable alcohol, such as perfume and distilled alcohol used for fortifying wine and other beverages; tobacco products, including cigarette papers and tubes; firearms, ammunition, destructive devices and all items on the U.S. Munitions List (USML).
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection) This agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) commenced operation as of March 1, 2003. This Bureau is responsible for enforcing all U.S. laws relating to importation, exportation and immigration as they affect people, conveyances and cargo crossing U.S. borders and ports and airports of entry/exit, and for the collection of duties and taxes due upon importation. Formerly known as the U.S. Customs Service.
(U.S. Department of Homeland Security) Created on March 1, 2003 from 22 legacy agencies, DHS has three primary missions: Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters.
(U.S. Department of Commerce) A cabinet-level department of the executive branch of government. Several DOC functions are of importance to the U.S. international trade community. The Bureau of the Census gathers and reports export and import trade statistics through the Foreign Trade Statistics Regulations (FTSR), and the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA) promotes and administers most U.S. exports. The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), under the ITA, administers the Export Administration Act (EAA) through the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The DOC also protects U.S. industry through the investigation of unfair foreign trade practices and issuing antidumping and countervailing duty orders.
(U.S. Department of State) The DOS is responsible for export of defense articles – license defense services and defense (munitions) articles. Export of defense articles (i.e., all items listed in the U.S. Munitions List) from the U.S. requires an export license from the DOS Office of Defense Trade Controls. Importation of defense articles into the U.S. requires an import license from the DOS Office of Defense Trade Controls.
(U.S. Department of Transportation) The cabinet level agency of the U.S. government responsible for regulating, among other things, the shipment of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) via all modes of transportation within the U.S. and U.S.-international trade. DOT also regulates the importation of motor vehicles and vehicle equipment.
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) This is the independent US government agency responsible for wide-ranging environmental protection, research and educational functions, including a variety of rules and regulations which affect the transportation of environmental pollutants, engine emissions by transportation conveyances, and certain chemical products moving in international trade.
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Interior. The Service is responsible for the protection, conservation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife and their habitats. Assisted by the CBP, the Fish and Wildlife Service regulates imports into the United States that fall within its jurisdiction, including products manufactured using materials derived from protected species. They also manage the enforcement of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and the international CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) convention for protection of endangered species.
(U.S. Federal Communications Commission) The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC’s jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions. The FCC also regulates the importation of radio frequency devices.
(U.S. Food and Drug Administration) The U.S. government agency responsible for regulating pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, medical devices, tobacco products, and food. FDA has export jurisdiction and export license authority over certain drugs, biologics and medical devices. FDA monitors the importation of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, medical devices, foodstuffs, ceramic dishware (and other items used to serve and store food), televisions and computer monitors for radiation emission, and many other products via the CBP Customs entry process.
(U.S. Federal Maritime Commission) The independent U.S. agency created by Congress to commercially regulate foreign and inter-coastal ocean commerce. The FMC licenses ocean freight forwarders, and requires comprehensive tariff filing by Vessel Operating Common Carriers (VOCC) and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC), ocean and inter-coastal carriers, shipping conferences and ocean terminals.
(International Air Transport Association) The commercial association representing numerous (but not all) international air carriers. IATA establishes HAZMAT regulations for air carriage, promulgates rules on interline agreements and accounting clearing procedures, and has at various times exerted influence over rates and service among its members. IATA also acts as a representative of its airline members in screening and appointing air cargo agents, and offers training and airway bill (AWB) clearing house services to the international airfreight forwarder industry.
Office of Foreign Assets Control) OFAC, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is responsible for country-oriented controls. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorism sponsoring organizations, and international narcotics traffickers. The OFAC website provides information on these sanctions as well as the complete list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN list”).
Other Government Agencies. This refers to agencies other than U.S. Customs and Border Protection. CBP is responsible for enforcing the laws and regulations of over 40 OGA’s.
U.S. Census Bureau
A sub-agency of the Department of Commerce. Among many other functions, Census collects, tabulates and publishes U.S. trade statistics.
(United States Department of Agriculture) The agency of the federalgovernment charged with regulating agricultural (plant and animal)products. As our national agricultural agency, the USDA must overseethe export and import of agriculture products, and issue animal healthcertificates, plant phytosanitary inspection certificates, and sanitaryinspection certificates on products within its jurisdiction, as required byforeign governments for products exported from the U.S.

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