On April 15, the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations (COAC) held its quarterly meeting. Each subcommittee had the opportunity to present its recommendations to CBP.
The Intelligent Enforcement Subcommittee began by sharing updates and recommendations on Intellectual Property Rights, counterfeit goods, and e-commerce. Additionally, the Forced Labor Working Group discussed proof of admissibility for forced labor allegations and industry collaboration.
The Next Generation and Facilitation Subcommittee discussed the progress and implementation of emerging technologies such as blockchain. CBP is exploring applications of blockchain technology within the supply chain to ensure transparency, identify legitimate actors, and modernize paper processes.
The Secure Trade Lanes Subcommittee discussed CTPAT trade compliance and forced labor program requirements. The Trusted Trader Working Group plans to contribute to a CTPAT study project planned with the University of Houston.
The Remote and Autonomous Cargo Processing Working Group mentioned the Kansas City Southern Railroad ‘Secure Corridor’ project being tested at the Southern Border in Laredo. The Secure Corridor creates a “sterile” environment where rail freight from Mexico receives its operation clearance from an international crew with a rail yard location in Mexico and in the United States. The aim is to increase capacity at the International Bridge by removing the crew change that occurs on the bridge, and by streamlining clearance processes to decrease stop time.
The COAC also discussed the implementation of the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). The U.S. Trade Representative has declared an implementation date of June 1st and is working with partners in Canada and Mexico to determine if the June 1 date can be maintained. CBP is officially following USTR’s lead and is coordinating with international and domestic stakeholders to prepare for the implementation. DHS and CBP leadership acknowledged that July 1st may be more likely. Meanwhile, members of the trade, including the American Association of Exporters and Importers, pushed for a January 2021 implementation date. CBP’s implementation of the agreement will be managed by the USMCA Center, staffed by OT personnel and liaisons from other CBP offices.
For additional COAC issue papers: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/stakeholder-engagement/coac/coac-quarterly-meeting-april-15-2020-webinar