Regulatory Implementation of the Centers of Excellence and Expertise
In 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) developed a test to incrementally transition the operational trade functions that traditionally reside with port directors to the Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers). The purpose of the test was to broaden the ability of the Centers to make decisions by waiving certain identified regulations to the extent necessary to provide the Center directors, who manage the Centers, with the authority to make the decisions normally reserved for the port directors. At this time, CBP is prepared to end the test and establish the Centers as a permanent organizational component of the agency and to transition certain additional trade functions to the Centers. This rule amends the CBP regulations on an interim basis to implement this organizational change by: Defining the Centers and the Center directors; amending the definition for port directors to distinguish their functions from those of the Center Directors; identifying the Center management offices; explaining the process by which importers will be assigned to Centers; providing the importer with an appeals process for its Center assignment; identifying the regulatory functions that will be transitioned from the port directors to the Center directors and those that will be jointly carried out by the port Directors and the Center directors; and providing clarification in applicable regulations that payments and documents may continue to be submitted at the ports of entry or electronically.