CBP Trade EAC, Brenda Smith, Outlines ACE and Other Modernization Priorities

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Executive Assistance Commissioner for Trade, Brenda Smith, spoke at the 2018 CBP Trade Symposium in Atlanta from August 14-15th on the ‘State of CBP’s Trade Strategy’. Smith highlighted some of CBP’s recent trade accomplishments, including “quantifying the benefits of CBP’s single window cargo process systems, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE),…[and] implementation of the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA).” Smith commented that streamlining the ACE implementation process “saved over 1 million hours for the government and trade community…valued at over $400 million.” Additionally, implementation of EAPA has initiated “20 investigations…and prevented the evasion of more than $50 million annually in antidumping and countervailing duties.”

However, throughout her presentation, Smith noted that the Office of Trade is prioritizing modernization of some of its trade enforcement functions. As CBP works to advance successor legislation to the Customs Modernization Act of 1993 (Mod Act), Smith said that the agency aims to modernize a few areas, including: “data accessing and sharing, ‘responsible party’ definitions and enforcement, and new processes and resource optimization.”

Data Access and Sharing: ACE

​“CBP hopes to leverage its work on ACE to more fully define the ‘One U.S. Government’ concept and use the data coming through ACE more effectively, both in the public and private sectors.” To do this, Smith said that CBP has learned from Dutch and Singapore Customs and explored how they’re working “to more effectively use the data collected by the single window.” Smith acknowledged that “automation of Section 321, or de minimis, entries is at the top of CBP’s list for remaining ACE programming.”

‘Responsible Party’ Definitions and Enforcement

​Smith commented that since the enactment of the Mod Act in 1993, supply chains have evolved considerably to now include “many different types of parties engaged in managing complex supply chains”, away from the traditional ‘importer/carrier/customs broker model’. Therefore, Smith recognized that CBP, in coordination with the private sector, must work to identify these new roles and responsibilities and ensure that they’re open-ended and evolving for the future.

New Processes and Resource Optimization

​In an updated Mod Act, Smith said that CBP is looking to “develop operational changes to replace outdated processes and embrace modern ways of doing business.” Smith commented that “many of CBP’s procedures are designed for large containerized shipments, which is no longer representative of how international trade operates.” In a revised Mod Act, Smith said that she’d like to see a dedicated source of funding for ACE, research of cognitive analytic technologies, and continued engagement and improvement of CBP’s National Targeting Center and Centers of Excellence and Expertise. Smith acknowledged that “getting the best value for its trade dollar is the main focus of CBP’s work on resource optimization.”

CT Strategies will continue to monitor developments in the Mod Act and any progress with “data accessing and sharing, ‘responsible party’ definitions and enforcement, and new processes and resource optimization” within CBP. In the meantime, please follow us onTwitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates. 

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