Trade Symposium: Intelligent Enforcement

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by Janet.Labuda@FormerFedsGroup.Com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hosted the 2017 East Coast Trade Symposium in Atlanta on December 5 and 6. Key CBP officials addressed the 700 attendees focusing on collaboration and how the agency will move forward with trade issues. Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade Brenda Smith kicked off the event by discussing CBP’s trade strategy.
Smith emphasized the CBP’s basic responsibilities remain the same—security, enforcement, and facilitation. An analogy of a four lane highway was used to illustrate how the agency is strategizing their trade portfolio.
The first lane, Smith explained, is comprised of “secure trade lanes” or CBP’s efforts to protect the country from threats posed by high-risk goods moving in and out of the U.S. The second lane focuses on “next generation facilitation,” which includes opportunities for deregulation and new business models.
The third lane is about “intelligent enforcement,” allowing CBP to integrate and apply information, authorities, and resources to enforce trade laws and regulations. “The information that we gather is a very powerful tool,” said Smith. “Analyzing that information more carefully with an eye toward predicting future violations and seeing where patterns exist will help us narrow in on those violating the law.” In addition, emphasis on consequence delivery will lead to deterrent effect.
The fourth and final lane, “resource optimization,” is focused on getting the best value for taxpayers, which includes determining the level of resources needed and the willingness of stakeholders to invest in CBP.
It is obvious from the sessions and discussions that the Trade pendulum is swinging toward enforcement. Enforcing the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act enacted in 2015 will continue to be a critical focus for the agency.
In his confirmation hearings now Commissioner Kevin McAleenan was urged by Senate Finance Committee members to up the enforcement effort. Intercepting the flow of drugs fueling the opioid crisis was discussed numerous times during the two-day event. In addition, anti-dumping and countervailing duty, forced labor, and intellectual property rights enforcement are areas of emphasis.
This represents a continued call to review your operations, sourcing strategies, and compliance programs to ensure that your corporate focus is in line with CBP’s.

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