The Filing of Comments With an Administrative Agency


It is the policy of the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (“CITBA”) to file Comments with Administrative Agencies. Comments by CITBA will typically be authorized for matters concerning the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), the International Trade Administration (“ITA”), U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”), and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).

CITBA will consider filing Comments only where the matter is considered to be in the broad interest of the public and the membership of CITBA as a whole. CITBA’s comments will not address arguments unlikely to affect the broad interests of the international trade community or factual issues. Comments will be approved for filing only where CITBA has a unique and/or distinct interest and may provide a significant contribution to the agency’s consideration of the issues involved.

CITBA will only file Comments if both the position asserted and Comments to be filed have been approved by a majority of the board members eligible to vote on the matter (government attorneys who are on the board or board members whose firms have an interest in the case are not eligible to vote, nor can they participate in deliberations with respect to the filing of such comments).[1] The proponent of the requested Comments bears the burden of persuading CITBA’s board of the importance of advocating the asserted position. Accordingly, to request Comments by CITBA, an e-mail request should be sent to the relevant CITBA Committee Chair, (e.g., a Customs Committee Chair). The e-mail should include:

  1. The date on which the Comments are due and the relevant administrative agency. Absent extraordinary circumstances, no requests that are due in less than 30 days will be entertained by CITBA.
  2. The full caption of the relevant Federal Register Notice (if applicable).
  3. A copy of the regulation, rule, or policy under consideration.
  4. Disclosure of the relevant interests. List each individual or organization who has or had any personal or professional interest in the issue, and the bases for that interest.
  5. Disclosure of the names, firm connections and contact information of those who represent the party requesting CITBA’s participation.
  6. A brief summary of the relevant regulatory or administrative history.
  7. A brief summary of the facts.
  8. The issue in the policy, procedure, rule, or regulation to be addressed by the party requesting CITBA’s participation.
  9. A paragraph explaining why CITBA should comment.
  10. Any other Bar Associations or Trade Organizations that are commenting.
  11. A 1-2 page statement describing specifically what issues CITBA is being requested to provide a Comment regarding.

CITBA is also amenable to joining Comments filed by other organizations. However, the same material must be still disclosed if the request is for CITBA to join another organization’s Comments.

For Comments filed by CITBA, the association pays no legal fees for the preparation or review.

CITBA Comments will normally be signed by CITBA’s President. However, if the President is ineligible to vote with respect to the Comments in question, the Comments will be signed by the President’s designee.

Finally, it should be noted that the filing of Comments to proposed rules, regulations, or policies does not mean that CITBA is committed to filing Comments again in the same matter.