CT Strategies

CT Strategies

CT Strategies provides strategic services to clients seeking innovative insight, advisory services, and technology applications to address border management, supply chain, and port operations challenges in the U.S. and around the world. The CT Strategies team understands the interconnected security and economic needs of the public and private sector as passengers, cargo, and conveyances move throughout the world.

For more information, contact us at info@ct-strategies.com or (202) 207-2930.


Allen Gina Provides Keynote Remarks at New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association 100th Anniversary Gala

Allen Gina Provides Keynote Remarks at New York/New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association 100th Anniversary Gala

February 2nd, 2017

Al Gina at NYNJ Forwarders-Brokers Gala

CT Strategies Partner, Allen Gina, was recently invited to address approximately 700 members of the New York/New Jersey trade community at their Association’s 100th Anniversary Gala. His remarks touched on the importance of continued collaboration between the public and private sector in further strengthening the security and efficiency of the supply chain. He also noted the critical knowledge the trade industry provides to U.S. Customs and other agencies regarding the continually evolving global trade landscape. Furthermore, in the midst of debate on the merits of international trade, now has become a particularly important time to educate the general public on the complexities of the global value chain.

The labels “Made in America” vs. “Made in Foreign Country X” often cannot be applied in simple black and white terms. The global economy is much more intertwined. A 2011 study cited that Mexican manufactured goods contained 40% of U.S. value added, while Canadian goods have 25% U.S. value added. While current U.S. Free Trade Agreements may not be perfect, it is important that the debate over their future be had with an understanding of these complexities in the global economy.

Andrew Farrelly published in International Airport Review

Andrew Farrelly published in International Airport Review

January 20, 2017

In discussing how the Trump Administration should address security and passenger facilitation in today’s air travel environment, Andrew Farrelly comments on the importance of smart investments in technology, proper data analysis, and well-coordinated foreign partnerships. These partnerships can be challenging to manage at times due to the differences in federal structures, legal authorities, and perspectives on the balance of privacy and security between the U.S. and its foreign partner nations. Nevertheless, these partnerships yield highly beneficial intelligence sharing and cooperation in the fight against global terrorism and are worth the complex negotiations and tactful diplomacy needed to forge them. Developed and managed properly, they allow the U.S. and its allies to have secure, efficient travel flows that support their respective economies.

CBP Facilitates Record Level of Travelers and Modernizes Trade Systems in FY2016

CBP Facilitates Record Level of Travelers and Modernizes Trade Systems in FY2016

January 16, 2017

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released statistics detailing its facilitation of Trade and Travel. According to the article, CBP in FY2016 processed a record number of passengers. More than 390 million travelers were processed at U.S. air, land, and sea ports of entry. Of that total, 119 million travelers were processed solely at air ports of entry. Fortunately, CBP’s expansion of Mobile Passport Control and Automated Passport Control helped facilitate and process travel for air passengers. Additionally, the passage of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) helped CBP process large volumes of cargo while ensuring that goods transported are secure and in compliance with trade laws.

Read further in our expanded insight

Allen Gina discusses expectations for Trump transition’s impact on CBP with International Trade Today

Allen Gina discusses expectations for Trump transition’s impact on CBP with International Trade Today

December 19, 2016

CT Strategies’ Partner, Mr. Allen Gina, provided insight to International Trade Today’s Brian Bradley for his article “Incoming Administration expected to Bring Greater Enforcement Focus to CBP”. Mr. Gina, based on his 30+ years’ experience with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Customs Service, provided predictions of the Trump Administration’s impact on CBP and its day-to-day operations. If the incoming administration is true to its campaign promises, Mr. Gina believes funding to CBP will increase. Additionally, CBP will likely be a major priority for President Trump as most of his major policy initiatives related to trade and immigration involve CBP operations.

The article compiles Mr. Gina’s expertise and insight with that of attorney, Brenda Jacobs and former CBP Acting Commissioner, David Aguilar. While Mr. Gina’s comments focused on the dynamics between Congress and CBP in allocating funding to execute the Administration’s proposed agenda, others’ comments concluded that the prospect of stricter trade enforcement could complicate day-to-day CBP operations. Additionally, Ms. Jacobs stated that President-elect Trump’s preference for bilateral trade is likely to complicate importing procedures. However, any change to trade procedures will likely be incremental, hopefully giving importers the time they need to ensure CBP does not ignore the trade facilitation aspect of its mission.

For the full article, please visit International Trade Today

AEO Infographic

Allen Gina Discusses Challenges in Customs and Trade in Podcast Interview

Allen Gina Discusses Challenges in Customs and Trade in Podcast Interview

October 24th, 2016

While attending the Terminal Operators Conference (TOC) Americas in Cancun, Allen Gina was interviewed by Mr. Gavin van Marle, Managing Editor of ‘The Loadstar’, a multimedia outlet for supply chain management issues. Issues discussed include:

  • The challenges of U.S. Legislation on “100% Scanning”
  • The need for Customs agencies to enable trade and economic prosperity while maintaining national security
  • Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Programs and Risk Management
  • The World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards
  • Cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico in managing their shared border

Allen Gina Speaks at TOC Americas 2016 Conference

Allen Gina Speaks at TOC Americas 2016 Conference

October 14, 2016

Al Gina at TOC Americas 2016

CT Strategies’ Allen Gina recently presented at the 16th edition of the Terminal Operations Conference (TOC) Americas held in Cancun, Mexico. TOC Americas brings together port stakeholders from across the global supply chain to discuss various issues of concern. Mr. Gina contributed a unique perspective as one of the few speakers with an extensive background in Customs.

His presentation focused on the challenges border management authorities around the world face in balancing security with trade facilitation. While port operators are concerned with cargo backlogs, Mr. Gina explained the risks posed by unknown containers. To mitigate these risks, he encouraged the development of a risk management regime that leverages trusted trader programs and cutting edge technology such as common viewer systems that separate non-threatening cargo from potentially threatening cargo. He also noted the importance of communication between Customs authorities and Terminal Operators. Through ongoing dialogue, they can better align their strategic plans and appropriate levels of staffing while dedicating resources to the appropriate ports to reduce cargo clearance wait times.

Allen Gina Shares Insight on Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA 2015) with ‘Women in International Trade’ Publication

Allen Gina Shares Insight on Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA 2015) with ‘Women in International Trade’ Publication

September, 2016

As featured in full length in the Women in International Trade (WIIT) Communique, the theme of partnership is consistent across many of sections of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA). The legislation calls on agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Trade Representative, to strengthen their enforcement posture against trade violations as well as their facilitation roles in order to ensure legitimate trade flows as efficiently as possible. To do this, the different agencies must collaborate on information-sharing, form joint working groups, cooperate with foreign partners, and leverage technology.

The TFTEA promotes and formalizes many strategic public-private partnerships aimed at accomplishing these goals. While a number of these partnerships have been in practice for several years, the TFTEA formalizes them and demonstrates Congress’s understanding of the importance of partnerships in balancing enforcement, security, and economic stimulus through trade.

Although there are numerous references to public-private partnership throughout the TFTEA, there are three in particular that represent the current state and evolution of partnerships between CBP and the industry:

Section 101, Trusted Trader

In order to maintain CBP’s premier Trusted Trader Program, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), as an innovative, world-leading program, CBP must ensure it is collaborating with industry to provide proper, measurable benefits to industry in exchange for their self-policing security measures and data-sharing responsibilities.

Section 109: Formalizing COAC

The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations (COAC), a committee of appointed stakeholders who represent the industry, is re-formalized in the TFTEA. The COAC provides an important forum for CBP and the trade community to maintain a dialogue on challenging issues, and allow for co-creation, and bi-directional education opportunities.

Section 110: Formalizing the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs)

The CEEs take an innovative approach to trade facilitation by providing a streamlined, ‘one-stop-shop’ for industry members to have their questions answered and ‘customer service needs’ uniformly addressed. While they were originally a pilot program, section 110 of the TFTEA now formalizes them.

To read this article in full, visit the WIIT bi-monthly executive briefing

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Modernizing Trade Facilitation with New Customs Code

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Modernizing Trade Facilitation with New Customs Code

August 19th, 2016

After hammering out a draft agreement in Minsk this week, the EEU is expected to sign a finalized Customs Code at its December 2016 Supreme Council meetings. Made up of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Russian Federation, the EEU will be creating a comprehensive, codified international treaty governing customs regulations in a unified manner across the region.

The new Code represents a significant step in facilitating the automated processing of trade data. The EEU says it will be “fully based on electronic document circulation in customs matters: electronic declaration, automated registration of a customs declaration, automatic release of goods, and application of an one-stop shop principle.”

This cooperative step in customs modernization has wide-ranging benefits. Advancements in automation and harmonized procedures across an economic region are vital to competing with economic or customs “blocks” like the European Union, North America, and East Asia in the globalized 21st century economy. Simplifications for the trade industry and reduced filing of separate documents means more efficient trade and ultimately greater economic stimulus.

The original article can be found at the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus

Visit the EEC website for more information on the EEC

CBP’s Challenge in Preventing the Importation of Stolen Cultural Property

CBP’s Challenge in Preventing the Importation of Stolen Cultural Property

August 15, 2016

As the lead U.S. Government Agency responsible for preventing the illegal importation of stolen artifacts at the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a significant challenge in interdicting traffic of Middle East antiquities stolen and smuggled amidst ongoing violence in the region. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report “Cultural Property: Protection of Iraqi and Syrian Antiquities” discussed that challenge and the debate within area of study regarding the extent of the problem.

While art experts interviewed for the GAO report believe recent media attention has reduced the trade of stolen Iraqi and Syrian artifacts in the U.S., an earlier research report written by the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance was more critical. The report recognized that some artifacts can enter the U.S. by manipulating its country of origin. It states that many artifacts at risk of being trafficked have characteristics that associates them with multiple countries, a result of historic borders often not matching current borders. In this case, many artifacts from Syria and Iraq can be improperly categorized as coming from other middle eastern countries. Art market experts interviewed for the GAO report suggested that CBP should update its procedures and guidance on importing archaeological property with dubious country of origins. According to the GAO report, the CBP officials interviewed agreed with this suggestion.

The issue illustrates the broad and challenging mission that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers face in keeping weapons, narcotics, harmful materials, counterfeit goods, improperly declared items, and other contraband out of the U.S.