WASHINGTON —U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced another milestone today toward fulfilling the agency’s initiative to enhance industry-specific collaboration. The debut of the Apparel, Footwear and Textiles (AFT) Center of Excellence and Expertise is now CBP’s hub for more than 67,000 importers of clothing, shoes, and raw materials.
Based in San Francisco, the center’s responsibilities include a majority of import and revenue-related activities for its industry. The center is the fourth to make its debut as part of the change in the way CBP processes trade in the 21st Century.
“The expansion of the AFT Center – and the selection of Eric Batt as its director – is a significant step forward for this important industry and for CBP,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “The Centers reflect the true spirit of collaboration between CBP and our trade stakeholders, reducing transactional costs, increasing consistency and predictability, and enhancing our ability to identify high-risk commercial importations.”
By leveraging new technology, CBP personnel in key locations throughout the United States, will be assigned virtually to the AFT Center, where they will carry out the following:
increase consistency of practices across more than 300 U.S. ports of entry;
resolve trade compliance issues nationwide; and
- single point of contact for trade actions.
CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise assist the agency’s ability to accomplish its trade mission and to increase efforts to protect the health and safety of the American public while playing a role in strengthening the U.S. economy.
The AFT Center joins the Electronics Center in Los Angeles; the Pharmaceuticals, Health & Chemicals Center in New York; and the Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals Center in Houston as fully-operational units. Six additional Centers will be fully operational by mid-summer 2016.
For more information on the centers, please visit the Centers of Excellence and Expertise information page on www.cbp.gov.