U.S. House Considers Importance of Protecting Transferee Data During Trade Subcommittee Hearing

Michael T. Jackson, SHRM-CP & Tristan North - May 25 2023
Published in: Public Policy
| Updated May 31 2023
Worldwide ERC®-supported effort to safeguard personal data in cross-border moves raised during congressional hearing on updating U.S. customs practices to protect workers and secure supply chains. 

The Trade Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Ways and Means this week discussed updates needed to “protect American workers and secure supply chains” and ensure that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “serves the interest of American workers.”  

During the 25 May 2023 hearing on updating U.S. trade laws and CBP-related procedures, Representative Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) placed into the hearing record a letter from Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) regarding the Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act (S. 758, H.R. 1568). In addition, as part of the hearing, Worldwide ERC®, the American Trucking Association, International Association of Movers, Military Officers Association of America, and the Senior Executive Service submitted a letter to the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Trade Subcommittee. The letter calls for the committee to sign off on House consideration of the as a stand-alone bill under suspension of the rules. 

  1. 758 would protect the sensitive personal data of U.S. servicemembers, federal employees, private sector workers and their families—who are returning to the United States after living abroad—from being disclosed as part of existing requirements for CBP to sell commercial vessel manifest data to data brokerage firms. The bill was approved in the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent in March 2023, and a companion House bill (H.R. 1568) identical to the Senate version was introduced that month by Representatives Mike Waltz (R-FL) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ).

Worldwide ERC President and CEO Lynn Shotwell said in a statement: “The Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act is vital to addressing a loophole that puts U.S. citizens and their information at risk by allowing sensitive personal data to be provided to data brokers via commercial vessel manifests. Protecting the personal information of U.S. workers, including U.S. servicemembers and federal employees, and their families relocating back to the United States from abroad is a critical security concern that must be addressed, and we call upon the House to take swift action to join the Senate in passing the Act.” 

Other topics addressed in the 25 May hearing included: 

  • Application of the “de minimis” threshold and associated risks, particularly within the context of trade with China. 
  • Practices and policies to address illegal drug shipments and human trafficking. 
  • Efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property with trade practices. 
  • Opportunities to streamline processes via the use of a trusted trader program, expansion of green lanes, and extension and modernization of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). 
  • Enhancement of agency digitization practices for supply chain documentation and focusing on quality over quantity. 

Michael T. Jackson is the vice president of member relations and operations at Worldwide ERC.  

Tristan North is the government affairs advisor at Worldwide ERC.