Although many people recognize U.S. Customs and Border Protection as the agency securing our borders at and between ports across the nation, they may not recognize the critical role CBP plays in facilitating the movement of goods and cargo into the U.S. marketplace. They may not realize how CBP makes sure they get their packages on time, and that the contents of those packages are safe – something that takes on even more significance as we head into the holiday gift-giving season.
It’s a tall order: On a typical day, CBP screens more than 70,000 truck, rail, and sea cargo containers at our 328 ports of entry – about 26 million each year.
That mouse-click by an online shopper sets a complex chain of events into motion that involves CBP nearly every step of the way. If it’s an order for a finished product from overseas, it’s subject to CBP inspection. Even if it’s for a product “made in the U.S.A.,” it’s possible that that one or more parts for that product were imported. With such a massive universe of products entering the U.S. marketplace, the stakes are high. We process more than $6 billion in imports and $4 billion in exports – more than $2.4 trillion a year.
On Nov. 4, I spoke at CBP’s East Coast Trade Symposium – one of the most important events we sponsor each year. The symposium is a terrific way for us to engage with our industry and government partners to discuss global trade, supply chain complexities, and our nation’s economic security.
As I told the participants, CBP has made tremendous progress in streamlining our operations, going paperless wherever possible, and working closely with foreign governments, cargo carriers, brokers, and their customers to get lawful cargo into the country as quickly and securely as possible. All of this helps ensure that products arrive in the hands of American consumers quickly and safely.
We’re working smarter and faster to keep the engine of our economy running smoothly and safely. So, think about us as you check off the items on your holiday shopping list, and know that the men and women of CBP are working around the clock, and around the world, to make sure you have a safe holiday season.