Philadelphia - The Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Partnership Council held its ninth meeting last week in Philadelphia.
In addition to CBP and USDA, AQIPC members include state agriculture officials from California, Florida, Minnesota, New York and Tennessee.
"The Partnership Council provides state government officials a forum to discuss innovative alternatives for process and policy that may result in improvements to program delivery," said Kevin C. Harriger, acting executive director of CBP's Office of Field Operations Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison. "Additionally, CBP has experienced the benefits from greater two-way communication between CBP and its valued stakeholders."
CBP's Office of Field Operations includes oversight of the agriculture specialists that work at U.S. ports of entry. CBP agriculture specialists inspect plant and animal products imported commercially or carried by the traveling public to guard against harmful insects, and animal and plant diseases. These threats could cause a devastating and costly impact on U.S. meat and produce industries.
Additionally, AQIPC members visited marine terminals in Gloucester City, N.J. and Philadelphia on Wednesday for briefings and to observe CBP agriculture inspection operations.
The initial council meeting occurred in January 2008. The council meets as many as three times annually. The previous council meeting occurred in April in San Diego.
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.