Guam – Senator Judi Guthertz believes that an opinion from the Guam Attorney General will require the U.S. military to pay “cost recovery fees” to Guam Customs and Quarantine when the agency performs inspections of cargoes at island bases and ports, including airports.
The opinion was signed by Assistant AG Monty R. May and, according to the Senator, it makes it clear that “DoD contractors can’t use military unit addresses to avoid paying Guam use taxes or customs cost recovery charges.”
In a release, the Senator states that the opinion also states that DoD and/or military officials can not “deny local customs officials from boarding military ships or planes for agricultural inspection or clearance, though there are exceptions to protect classified material, according to the opinion.”
In the past, according to Director of Customs and Quarantine Dennis Santo Tomas, some military commanders have asserted that U.S. sovereign immunity exempted military vessels from boarding and inspection, as well as the associated fees assessed by these federally mandated activities.
The number of Guam customs venues have greatly expanded in recent years and will grow even further as the Guam military buildup proceeds, making it important that such relationships be made clear.
Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency is under the oversight of Senator Judi Guthertz’ Committee on the Military Buildup.