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Celebrate the evolution of the U.S. Customs Service and its storied history in August

When: Aug. 1

What: When it was first established in 1789, the U.S Customs Service mainly collected the tariffs that funded the country’s expansion. Today, it encompasses far more and is responsible for an array of trade and border security issues. Recognize the importance of this federal branch to our country’s economics and way of life Aug. 1, on the anniversary of its advent.

Background: The U.S. Customs Service was established when Congress first assembled in New York City shortly after the Revolutionary War had depleted the country’s finances. The first act of Congress, signed by President George Washington, created the first agency of the federal government. Dubbed the Collectors, this organization regulated an imposed duty on imports, thus funding the executive departments and ultimately dissolving the national debt by 1835. The U.S. Customs Service has since become a part of the Department of Homeland Security, and it now handles the screening and documentation of people and goods as they pass into U.S. territories.

Story Pitch: Companies and groups that work to smooth the flow of imported and exported products and resources will want to take this day to talk about their work and developments. Navigating the legal requirements and documentation to carry out trade in the U.S. can be complex and costly, so be sure to detail products and services that help clients navigate the system. Logistics are also a crucial element, so companies that work to provide strategies can promote systems that make it easy to trade between the U.S. and other nations while keeping costs down and transport times fast. Customs also seize items that violate intellectual property and consumer safety standards, so groups that represent I.P. holders and advocate for consumer safety also have a reason to get behind this anniversary. Focus your efforts to curb the import of counterfeit goods, dangerous toys and other items, as well as any work with U.S. Customs or other federal branches. Another major aspect of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is national security and human trafficking. Groups that work to improve the safety of immigrants and end human trafficking should take this day to talk about their work with federal branches, affecting policy and raising awareness of the crime.

Story Hook: The U.S. Customs Service is responsible for a variety of border security issues, including protecting the country against threats of terrorism. What are some other issues the service is responsible for and how do federal organizations work to combat global issues?

  • What are the most common and avoidable pitfalls when importing for business?
  • What are the dangers that undocumented immigrants face when traveling to the U.S?
  • How have duties and tariffs been altered or had an effect on the economy?
  • What issues of import safety and human trafficking should citizens be more aware of?

Tips: Provide contact information for a customs broker, as well as a business that specializes in or depends on imported goods.


International Trade Administration
(800) 872-8723

Office of the United State Trade Representative
(202) 395-3230

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(202) 325-8000

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(202) 282-8010

 –Researched, compiled & written by Nicholas Testa
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events

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