Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act Helps U.S. CBP Combat Forced Labor

September 8th, 2016

Passed in February 2016, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) strengthens the ability of U.S Agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), to carry out their respective trade enforcement and facilitation missions. One notable section of the TFTEA eliminates the ‘consumptive demand’ clause which, until the Bill’s passage, had allowed for the U.S. to import goods that were knowingly produced with forced labor if U.S. domestic production could not satisfy U.S. demand.

While outlawing their import, the TFTEA allows for CBP to hold shipments where forced labor production is suspected. It also allows for coordination with ICE and the private sector in investigating forced labor allegations. There are also data processing and other technology tools made by leading companies such as SAP, IBM, Dun & Bradstreet, and Thomson Reuters that improve commercial targeting and enforcement capabilities.

By including this section in the TFTEA, Congress has taken an important step in combating forced labor. CBP should be commended for its early phase efforts in enforcing the new law. With interagency coordination and the participation of legitimate importers in identifying violators, meaningful results should be achieved.

Read more at Lexology

Read CBP’s Fact Sheet on the Issue

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.

Andrew Farrelly Presents to World Customs Organization

Andrew Farrelly Presents to World Customs Organization

July 14th, 2016

Andrew Farrelly July 2016 WCO Brussels
Group Photo July 2016 WCO Brussels

While attending annual WCO Council Sessions in Brussels, CT Strategies Partner, Andrew Farrelly, was invited to present to the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG). Backed by his years of experience at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) developing and implementing key components of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards, Mr. Farrelly provided insights on how Customs services and the trade industry can work together to improve: data and intelligence sharing, risk management, cargo targeting, supply chain security, and capacity building for enhanced trade facilitation.

The PSCG is open to a limited membership of approximately 30 companies and associations from around the world representing a variety of international trade interests. They periodically convene at World Customs Organization events, such as the annual WCO Council Sessions typically held every July in Brussels.

Read here for more information on the WCO

CBP Makes Donation Assistance Program Selections to Enhance U.S. Trade Flow

CBP Makes Donation Assistance Program Selections to Enhance U.S. Trade Flow

June 22nd, 2016

 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have accepted three new proposals for port of entry infrastructure and technology projects under the ‘Donation Assistance Program’ (DAP).

The city of Donna, TX seeks to build new inspection facilities and install technologies to help inspect inbound vehicles at the Donna-Rio Bravo Port of Entry while the city of Pharr, TX aims to construct a new cold inspection facility and an agricultural inspection training and development facility at the Pharr POE. Red Hook Terminals pledged to donate a perforating machine to the Port of Freeport in Texas.

The ‘559 DAP’ law, a true example of public-private partnership, was signed in 2014.  DAP allows donors, such as private or local government entities, to make investments that will enhance the flow of trade and travel at U.S. borders, stimulating both the local and greater U.S. economy.

Any eligible entity seeking to submit a proposal to the DAP may contact CT Strategies for assistance in the process. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, TSA, DHS, and FBI Discuss ‘Identity and Biometrics Innovations’ in Public Forum

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, TSA, DHS, and FBI Discuss ‘Identity and Biometrics Innovations’ in Public Forum

July 1st, 2016

Bartoldus and Wagner SIBA Biometrics Event
Wagner at SIBA Biometrics Event

On June 29th in downtown D.C., the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA) hosted a forum of multiple U.S. Government security and intelligence agency representatives to discuss how biometric technology will continue to shape the future of international travel security and counter-terrorism. U.S. Congress recently allocated a $1 Billion fund to the Department of Homeland Security to develop a biometric enforcement program for the exit environment. The rest of the world has also seen a rapid expansion in recent years in the use of biometrics to enforce immigration laws and track traveler identity.

In addition to rolling out the right technology for different ports in the air and land environments, strategic information sharing agreements between domestic and international partners must be put in place in order for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to leverage the full benefits of a new system.

Discussion topics among subject matter experts at the event included:

§ Screening Innovations: Increasing Accuracy, Speed and Throughput International Travelers”

§ An Update from CBP on the Air Exit Biometric Pilot Program and the Future of Traveler Management”

§ The Future of Data-Sharing, Interoperability and Innovation”

For more information, visit SIBA

Partner Agencies Collecting More Trade Data Electronically as CBP Advances ACE Deployment

Partner Agencies Collecting More Trade Data Electronically as CBP Advances ACE Deployment

June 6th, 2016

As U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) moves towards a December 2016 deadline for full implementation of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), other U.S. Government agencies with regulatory authorities over imports are expanding their abilities and mandates to accept required information electronically as part of the overall move to a fully paperless system.

While the development and deployment of ACE has been a multi-year challenge for CBP and trade industry stakeholders, the requirement to integrate additional agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not make the task easier. Many of the technology and policy challenges involved are not uncommon for massive interagency automation programs.

Still, progress continues to be made on the ACE effort. The launch of CBP’s document imaging system (DIS) will reduce the likelihood of lost documents. A fully electronic post-summary corrections process will reduce time and hassle in amending an entry.

ACE provides the platform for the U.S. Government Single Window, which will allow importers to eventually file documents electronically one time and have them reviewed by all necessary agencies. Customs services across the globe have been developing their own Single Window systems. Though few must account for the volume of trade and number of agencies that the U.S. does. Nevertheless, Single Window systems are widely considered imperative tools for modern trade processing and sincere efforts should be made to implement them.

For more information visit Global Trade Magazine

CT Strategies’ Allen Gina Leads Discussion with Heads of Mexican and Canadian Customs at WCO AEO Conference

CT Strategies’ Allen Gina Leads Discussion with Heads of Mexican and Canadian Customs at WCO AEO Conference

May 13th, 2016

The World Customs Organization (WCO) held its 3rd annual Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Conference in Cancun from May 11th-13th. The conference brought together Customs and Trade Officials; private sector supply chain managers; and legal advisors from around the world to share best practices and discuss ongoing progress with their respective AEO trusted trader programs. WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya, promoted the global expansion of of AEO programs and Mutual Recognition Arrangements

One all-attendee panel discussion on “How AEO Can Benefit from Digital Customs” was moderated by Mr. Gina and included Mr. Ricardo Trevino Chapa, Director General of Mexican Customs, Tax and Administration Service of Mexico; Linda Lizotte-MacPherson, President of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); high level Customs officials from the Dominican Republic and India; and Mr. Martin Rojas, of the International Road Transport Union.

Officials discussed how their respective countries, at different points of development, were using technology advancements such as automation, data analytics, and single window trade processing to build the capacity of their customs, border management, and revenue collection services.

Read here for more information on the 3rd Annual WCO AEO Conference

Congress Appropriates up to One Billion Dollars to U.S. CBP, DHS to Spend on Traveler Biometric-Exit Tracking

Congress Appropriates up to One Billion Dollars to U.S. CBP, DHS to Spend on Traveler Biometric-Exit Tracking

29 April, 2016

The capture and use of international travelers’ biometrics for tracking, immigration control, and other law enforcement purposes has become more widespread in many parts of the world in recent years.

However, given the approximate 330 air, land, and sea ports of entry in the U.S. and the one million travelers per day entering through them, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) faces unique challenges as it seeks to implement a biometric capture solution that would include exit tracking.

Congress has been pressuring CBP and the larger Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in recent years to roll out a comprehensive biometric-exit solution and recently appropriated one billion USD to be used in the coming years to develop and implement it.

In order to make best use of the funding, CBP and DHS are currently evaluating biometric technologies that can screen travelers without significantly disrupting wait times at U.S. borders, while also addressing back end IT requirements and other additional related resources that may be needed for the program to succeed.

U.S. border control operations as well as land and airport infrastructure have, to date, been focused almost exclusively on traveler entry, as has been the DHS mission. Implementing a comprehensive exit solution complete with biometric capture is a challenging adaptation, as DHS and CBP seek to address security issues without significantly disrupting traveler flows that contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy.

For more information, visit Planet Biometrics.