For the first time in 17 years, the US government on Tuesday (1 October) began a partial shutdown after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a new budget for the next fiscal year.

The move brings a number of non-essential services to a standstill and puts up to 1m federal employees on unpaid leave. It also impacts a number of trade-related services provided by federal agencies.

Under the shutdown, essential services that will continue to run include those related to national security, benefit payments, and the protection of life and property.

For instance, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is among the federal agencies whose mission is considered "essential" and will largely remain operational, with customs processing functions at US ports of entry continuing to run.

But numerous federal customs and trade functions have been suspended and websites are not being updated.

The US International Trade Commission has shut down its investigative activities during appropriation, including antidumping and countervailing duty investigations and reviews. And it says most hearings and conferences will be postponed until funding resumes.

According to an alert from international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg citing the American Association of Exporters and Importers, the Office of the US Trade Representative "will be unable to carry out normal operations" during the shutdown - but is still hoping to participate in the next rounds of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks, which are scheduled for 3-8 October and 7-11 October, respectively.

Shortly before the appropriations expiration, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) joined a multi-industry coalition of 250 organisations in sending a letter to all Members of Congress highlighting the urgent need to avoid a damaging lapse of government funding.

The letter also outlined the need to raise the debt limit, commence entitlement reform to address the main driver of US deficits and high debt levels, and undertake fundamental tax reform.

AAFA continues to urge Congress to break gridlock and avoid further harm to consumers, businesses, and the US economy.

Click here to view the contingency plans for agencies across the federal government.