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Global Logistics and Compliance Blog | CH Powell Company

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Customs Brokers

Customs Brokers CBPLast week, I had the opportunity to attend a Congressional hearing held by the Subcommittee on Trade, Committee on Ways and Means.  Darrell Sekin Jr, president of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) was one of four private entities who provided testimony on international trade.  The prior panel included senior leadership from U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where each representative’s testimony provided an overview of the critical issues in their respective agencies.  A majority of discussion surrounded the Automated Commercial Environment, or better known through its acronym, ACE.

In a prior letter to the NCBFAA, CBP identified its six key trade priorities and Acting Commissioner David Aguilar discussed a number of these priorities during the hearing

  1. Modernization (including automation)

  2. Consistency and Harmonization

  3. Trusted Trader Programs

  4. Co-Creation of Trade Initiatives

  5. Bi-Directional Education and Communications

  6. Trade Enforcement

 

Darrell Sekin also identified areas where the NCBFAA is collaborating with CBP.

  1. Education and Certification of Customs Brokers

  2. Customs Broker Responsibilities

  3. Generating support for new Customs Programs such as ACE, Centers of Excellence and Expertise and Air Cargo Advanced Screen

For the importing community, I see a few key issues that one should investigate.  Are they part of any of the Trusted Trade programs such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT),  Importer’s Self Assessment (ISA)or do they have an internal documented Compliance Program.  There are current measurable benefits to be gained by the importer being a part of these.  In the future, being considered a Trusted Trader may be a requirement to attain greater benefits in some of the trade priorities outlined above.

The NCBFAA is working closely with CBP on a number of the initiatives stated above, but has been concentrating its efforts to better educate not only the trade practitioners within our industry, but also CBP senior leadership as well on the trade perspective.  In the next few years most likely ACE will be the only enterprise platform that is used to not only transact customs business, but also the solution that those government agencies involved with international commerce will rely upon.  If you are a broker, now is the time to get on ACE.  If you are an importer, you should talk with your broker about their planned timeline for ACE implementation.

Geoff Powell - Vice President of Operations - CH Powell Company