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Treasury, FMC Reviewing Regulations for Repeal or Modification

The Treasury Department and the Federal Maritime Commission are seeking input on agency regulations that can be eliminated, modified or streamlined in order to reduce burdens. These requests for comments are being issued in furtherance of two executive orders issued by President Trump earlier this year directing agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation issued and to convene a regulatory reform task force to assist in the removal of unnecessary regulations. Comments on the Treasury request are due by 31 July while comments on the FMC request are due by 5 July.

Executive Order 13777 requires the task force to attempt to identify for repeal, replacement or modification regulations that eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation; are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; impose costs that exceed benefits; create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies; are inconsistent with the requirements of the Information Quality Act or the guidance issued pursuant to that provision; or derive from or implement executive orders or other presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.

Treasury is seeking input on regulations, forms and guidance documents issued or promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, departmental offices (Office of the Secretary), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Community Development Financial Institutions, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control, as well as regulations and guidance issued under Treasury’s customs revenue function. The FMC, meanwhile, is seeking input on any (or all) of the following areas.

Ocean Transportation Intermediaries
The FMC reviews all applications for OTI non-vessel operating common carrier and ocean freight forwarder licences. After approval, OTI licences are issued to applicants upon receipt of acceptable proof of financial responsibility, usually in the form of a surety bond. The FMC also manages the Regulated Persons Index as to licenced or registered parties, receives and processes all OTI bonds and bond riders, registers foreign-based unlicenced NVOCCs, and provides for the renewal of OTI licences and registrations every three years.

Carrier Automated Tariffs
The FMC reviews carrier-published tariff systems under the accessibility and accuracy standards of the Shipping Act of 1984, reviews published tariff material for compliance with the Shipping Act's requirements, and responds to inquiries or issues that arise concerning tariff rates, rules and practices. The FMC also acts on applications for special permission to deviate from tariff publishing rules and regulations and recommends action on specific problems and concerns regarding the publication of tariffs.

Marine Terminal Operator Schedules
For MTOs who choose to make a schedule of their rates, regulations and practices available to the public, a complete and current set of schedules must be maintained for five years and made available to the FMC upon request.

Service Contracts
The Shipping Act allows ocean common carriers, either individually or through agreements, to negotiate and execute service contracts with one or more shippers or shippers' associations. Service contracts are filed confidentially with the FMC and are maintained in its SERVCON system. A concise statement of certain contract essential terms (i.e., commodity or commodities involved, minimum volume or portion, duration, and origin and destination port ranges) must be published in the carrier's tariffs. Original signed service contracts, amendments and associated records must be maintained for five years from the termination of the contract and be made available to the FMC for audit upon request. An FMC-developed Web service allows VOCCs to incorporate the filing of service contracts into their own contract management systems.

NVOCC Service Arrangements
NSAs are the NVOCC functional equivalent to a service contract, are filed confidentially with the FMC and are maintained in the SERVCON system.

NVOCC Negotiated Rate Arrangements
NRAs are written arrangements between a shipper and a licenced or registered NVOCC to provide specific transportation service for a stated cargo quantity, from origin to destination, on and after a stated date or within a defined time frame. NVOCCs using NRAs need not publish the applicable rate in the tariffs they make available to the public. NRAs are not filed with the FMC but are instead maintained in private electronic systems.

Carrier and MTO Agreements
The FMC has responsibility for competition review and market analysis, focusing on activity that is substantially anticompetitive under the standards of the Shipping Act of 1984. In this regard the FMC administers a variety of monitoring programmes and other research efforts designed to track relevant competitive and economic activity in major U.S. trade lanes and apprise the Commission of emerging commercial trends and carrier pricing and service activities. Agreement programme activities consist of processing carrier and MTO agreement filings, making appropriate recommendations on the disposition of filed agreements, administering monitoring report filing requirements, reviewing agreement meeting minutes and reports, and maintaining a database that contains pertinent information on each agreement filed.

Controlled Carriers
Special regulatory oversight is exercised by the FMC to ensure that controlled carriers, whose marketplace decision-making can be influenced by foreign governmental priorities or by access to non-market sources of capital, do not engage in unreasonable below-market pricing practices that could disrupt trade or harm privately-owned shipping companies.

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