CBP Virtual Trade Week recap 2021


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 2021 Virtual Trade Week (VTW) was held on July 20-22. This year’s sessions included discussion on 21CCF, E-Commerce, Forced Labor, Export Modernization, CTPAT, and 1USG. Among those in attendance were CBP Commissioner Troy Miller, John Leonard a Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner to CBP’s Office of Trade, AnnMarie Highsmith an Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s OT branch, John Tien a Deputy Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and many other distinguished speakers. 

 On July 21, CBP began the second day of their conference with “Forced Labor: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going”. The session was moderated by Ana Hinojosa, the Executive Director of CBP’s Trade Remedy Law Enforcement. A prominent topic of discussion throughout the session was with concern to the forced labor conditions in Xinjiang. Therese Randazzo, Director of CBP’s Forced Labor Divisions, explained in great detail the many steps CBP is taking to combat forced labor globally. Currently, CBP has increased the overall number of Withhold Release Orders, all of which have become more complex and expansive. The agency is also exploring tracing technologies that would allow CBP to track supply chains and the origin of materials. CBP is committed to improving its overall transparency with the public by making more information publicly available and providing fact sheets alongside FAQs. 

Another informative session followed, focusing on “Export Modernization: CBP and Trade Strategy for 21st Century Export Processing”. The discussion was led by Thomas Overacker, the Executive Director of CBP’s Cargo and Conveyance Security. Within CBP, exports had lagged in the modernization process. James Swanson, Director of CBP’s Controls and Cargo Security, as well as Conveyance Security, outlined the strategic roadmap for export modernization. CBP took a giant step towards modernization by converting all manifest reporting from paper to a fully automated system, allowing CBP to analyze and leverage data to establish risk management. Another success involved post-departure filing, enabling CBP to deliver timely and accurate data to the bureau. CBP’s next steps reside in the electronic export manifest. The program is developed and offered as a pilot. 

 The final day of the conference commenced with “Emerging Cybersecurity Threats, Integrating Forced Labor, and Virtual Validation within the CTPAT Landscape”. Similar to the Export Modernization discussion, this session also was led by Thomas Overacker. Director of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT), Manuel Garza, fronted the conversation by relaying information on the newly enhanced virtual validations. Currently, the CTPAT program has over 11,000 members with a 99% compliance rate. CBP conducted 722 validations in 2020, 600 of those were virtual. As of 2021, the agency has conducted 807 virtual validations. While CBP has evolved virtual validations, they also have been workings towards the development of data analytics. Through this development, CBP can pinpoint the areas companies are failing during validations and provide valuable guidance. CBP has also signed a contract to develop their CTPAT portal, with the release date expected to be later this year. 

CT Strategies recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to meeting CTPAT’s evolving requirements and maintain the security protocols throughout the year. CTS CTPAT Navigator offers a variety of customizable packages that can be scaled to your specific needs. Our team of former CBP CTPAT SCSS’s and Directors help you successfully navigate the CTPAT program. Using insight from over 50 years of combined CBP operational and policy knowledge, we leverage our first-hand CPAT supply chain security experience and connections to current CBP leadership, so you can save time, money, and get the most out of your CTPAT membership.  

Learn more about the CTPAT Navigator at  www.ct-strategies.com    

CT Strategies provides strategic services to clients seeking current and innovative insight into border management and supply chain 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 and helps its clients succeed based on the experience of its leadership who led recent changes in data-driven trade management and enforcement in the U.S. Contact us at info@ct-strategies.com or (202) 629-5199.


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