Business: Aspirin for Importers

The maze of U.S. customs laws, grown up haphazardly since George Washington signed the first tariff act in 1789, has compounded trivial annoyances into major headaches for American importers. Last week Congress provided some aspirin by passing a long-needed customs-simplification bill. The new bill will:

¶ Abolish penalties for undervaluation of imported articles. Under the old law, imports were dutiable at the value declared by the importer or the value placed on them by the Government's appraiser, whichever was higher. If the importer underestimated the dutiable value, he had to pay a penalty; if he overestimated...

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