CBP, WTO Host Caribbean Trade Workshop
San Juan, P.R. - Customs and ministerial officials from twelve Caribbean countries participated this week in a World Trade Organization Regional Workshop on the Trade Facilitation Negotiations hosted by the U.S. government, in particular the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
CBP Assistant Commissioner Dan Baldwin made closing remarks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Regional Workshop on the Trade Facilitation Negotiations.
Along with a representative of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, officials from Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago participated in the meeting.
CBP staff from the Office of Trade, Office of Information Technology, and Office of Administration provided guidance and lessons learned in the activities the U.S. has implemented that appear in the current draft negotiating text, through publication of information on the internet, the use of risk management, the separation of release from payment, and post-clearance audits, among others.
Participants visited the Port of San Juan, where CBP's San Juan Field Office provided insight into the methodologies and the infrastructure available to control and expedite merchandise flows in these busy ports.
"At CBP we need to understand the overall impact of our mission on the economic and commercial environment by finding alternatives on how to do our work, how to cut costs to traders, and how to take work away from the physical border," said CBP Assistant Commissioner Dan Baldwin during closing remarks at the meeting.
Baldwin also commented that the trade community is looking for transparency, predictability and certainty. Advance rulings/advance information fit in here by streamlining the entry process as much as possible, keeping our country safe from unhealthy products and, at the same time, making trade facilitation a reality.
The workshop is part of the technical assistance and support for capacity building of the WTO Negotiations on Trade Facilitation, which seeks to assist each country's customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues, in order to be able to participate more effectively in all rounds of negotiations.
The Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation was established and negotiations started in 2004 with the aim of clarifying and improving relevant aspects of Articles V, VIII and X of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1994.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.