US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held its annual East Coast Trade Symposium
on November 27 -28 in National Harbor, Maryland. This year’s Symposium was themed “Expanding 21st
Century Global Partnerships” and featured US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano as the Keynote Speaker.
Secretary Napolitano opened the two-day program by stressing the critical role that DHS plays in facilitating legitimate trade and travel, while securing our nation’s borders. House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (RTX) provided luncheon remarks and called for a new and more aggressive U.S. trade agenda.
CBP Acting Commissioner David Aguilar made several agency announcements during the introductory session, including CBP’s opening of six new Centers of Excellence & Expertise (CEEs) in FY 2013. The CEEs are intended to provide industry-specific capabilities and to serve as a single point of processing for importers in CBP’s trusted trade programs (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA)). The industries represented by the new CEEs are:
- Agriculture & Prepared Products (Miami, FL)
- Apparel, Footwear & Textiles (San Francisco, CA)
- Base Metals (Chicago, IL)
- Consumer Products & Mass Merchandise (Atlanta, GA)
- Industrial & Manufacturing Materials (Buffalo, NY)
- Machinery (Laredo, TX)
CBP already operates CEEs for the following industries: Electronics; Pharmaceuticals; Health & Chemicals; Automotive & Aerospace; and Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals.
Acting Commissioner Aguilar also announced that CBP recently signed a mutual recognition agreement with Taiwan Customs concerning their respective supply chain security programs (Taiwan’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program and C-TPAT). Mr. Aguilar also informed attendees that CBP is currently working on expanding C-TPAT benefits to exports, starting with exports to Japan, a trading partner with an existing AEO program. CBP has not yet revealed the details of its intended export piece for C-TPAT, however, nor how or when it will be officially launched.