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What's New in Innovation

Business Transformation and Innovation Division

The mission of Business Transformation and Innovation Division (BTID) is to actively engage in the future strategic vision of the Office of Trade (OT) to provide strong foundations of future technology investments which will facilitate, secure, and reduce costs related to the movement of cargo. BTID focuses on assessing and analyzing new technologies within the parameters of CBP’s business needs, and providing a futuristic vision on products and software so that the agency can proactively pursue advancements in the technical environment.


testProofs of Concept

BTID develops blockchain proofs of concept (POC) with trade partners serving on the Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC). A POC is a short assessment used to demonstrate the feasibility of a specific concept or theory utilizing a fail fast methodology. At the completion of a proof of concept, a 360-degree assessment is completed, evaluating four primary areas: Legal, Policy, Technical, and Operational.

Completed Proofs of Concept

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NAFTA/CAFTA Proof of Concept

September 2018

In September 2018, CBP conducted the North American Free Trade Agreement/Central America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA/CAFTA) POC, which tested the application of blockchain technology for the entry summary submission process for NAFTA/CAFTA entries. Select the complete assessment and report of the NAFTA/CAFTA POC to read more.

An assessment of the technology, along with the policy and legal issues raised by the POC, was conducted following the test. It found that use of the blockchain achieved almost instantaneous communications between CBP and trade, improved documentation of receipt, and expedited processing for CBP. Other benefits included:

  • Easier access to back-up documentation when required.
  • Easier access to importer/more direct communication.
  • Enhanced targeting.
  • Full data (CO, entity data, etc.) received with initial sub mission of entry summary.
  • Potential issues captured early on.
  • Eliminated manual documentation requirements and duplicative data entry.
IPR Proof of concept

Intellectual Property Rights Proof of Concept

September 2019

In September 2019, CBP conducted the Intellectual Property Rights POC, which tested a blockchain technology that facilitates shipments based on known licensing relationships (Licensor and sub licensee relationships). Read the complete assessment and report of the IPR POC by selecting here.

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DHS University Initiative on Blockchain

Study to look at Purchase Order to Entry

  • The study was conducted by the Borders, Trade, and Immigration Institute (BTI) of the University of Houston
  • Looked at starting data from Purchase Order submission, and combining shipping and entry data
  • Reverse engineer Entry/Entry Summary Processes to remove dependency on Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)
  • Included all modes of transportation and a look at architectural/technical implications
  • Read the final report on "Transforming Trade and Ensuring Global Supply Chain Security with Blockchain and Smart Contracts"

Addressing Cross Border E-commerce Challenges with Emerging Technologies

  • Researched how to leverage emerging technologies to augment and enhance data sharing and the economic costs and benefits from incorporating emerging technologies
  • Researched the impact on efficiency effects for the consumer, the importer, and other stakeholders
  • Conducted with BTI of the University of Houston
  • Read the final report here

R3: A Permissioned Blockchain Testbed for Tuna Tracking

  • Being developed by Texas A&M University as part of the DHS Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense, Center of Excellence
  • Creates a realistic model of global tuna supply chain components, from fishing vessels through entry into the U.S. in a computational testbed environment
  • Designs a testbed that will enhance visibility into complex tuna supply chains for airtight tuna, tracking tuna from origin to import
  • View the project summary to learn more about this ongoing project

Current Collaborative Projects with the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), DHS Science and Technology (S&T)

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  • Looking to track oil from spigot to importation
  • Properly apply NAFTA/CAFTA
  • Tests may be applicable to other like commodities
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  • Looking to track steel from foreign manufacturer to the United States
  • Obtain certified mill test report at time of production
  • Deters alteration of mill test report through the supply chain
  • Proper determination of country of origin
  • Proper determination of HTS and collection of duties
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Food Safety

  • Enhance the visibility of food supply chains (from farm to point of purchase)
  • Enable the application of appropriate duties
  • Reduce spoilage and waste
  • Reduce paper documents
  • Expedite inspection times
  • Enhance targeting
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Natural Gas

  • Improve the traceability of natural gas
  • Allow paperless identification of private sector and government actors related to natural gas exchange
  • Facilitate communication between national, state/provincial government and private sector entities
  • Connect supply chain documentation to related import/export declaration
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  • Track small packages using Blockchain technology
  • Ingest data from online marketplace entities
  • Receive pre-arrival and pre-release information
  • Provide transparency and the ability to stop illicit materials/safety of small package imports
  • Track small packages using Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

Feedback/Innovative Idea

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Do you have feedback for the Business Transformation and Innovation Division? Or do you have an innovative idea or product that may benefit the trade mission? Please send ideas and feedback via email to otinnovation@cbp.dhs.gov

Last Modified: April 21, 2022