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US to implement remittance fee on money transfers to fund Border Wall

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Cited as “Border Wall Funding Act of 2017”, the United States of America is seeking to amend the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to impose a fee for remittance transfers to certain foreign countries, including Guyana, and for other purposes.

According to the Bill which was introduced the House of Representatives on March 30, 2017, If the designated recipient of a remittance transfer is located in a foreign country, among which Guyana is listed, “a remittance transfer provider shall collect from the sender of such remittance transfer, a remittance fee equal to 2 percent of the United States dollar amount to be transferred (excluding any fees or other charges imposed by the remittance transfer provider).”

Such remittance fees shall be submitted to the Treasury to be expended for the purpose of improving border security.

Additionally, after the legislation is passed, the remittance transfer provider may retain up to 5 percent of any remittance fees collected to cover the costs of collecting and submitting such remittance fees.

The Bureau, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of the Treasury, and remittance transfer providers were given up to September 30, 2017 to develop and make available a system for remittance transfer providers to submit the remittance fees collected and retain a portion of such remittance fees as stated in the above paragraph.

Anyone who attempts to evade the remittance fee shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the remittance transfer, “whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both.”

Any foreign country that, aids or harbours an individual conspiring to avoid the fee collected in “shall be ineligible to receive foreign assistance” and to participate in the visa waiver program or any other programs, at the discretion of the Secretaries.

Countries listed are Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Aruba, Curacao, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, or Argentina.

US President Donald Trump campaigned on the construction of a wall along the Mexican Border. However, the question have since been ‘who will pay for the wall’; even more than the possibility of building such a wall.

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