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Statement from Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

Release Date: 
February 29, 2016

Last week, President Obama signed H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 – also known as the Customs Authorization Bill. 

This legislation is a major milestone for CBP, as it is the first reauthorization for our agency since it was created under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. By authorizing CBP, the Act establishes a modern foundation for the agency’s critical missions to counter terrorism and transnational crime, advance comprehensive border security and management, and enhance U.S. economic competitiveness by enabling lawful trade and travel.

CBP has a long history of safeguarding the nation’s economic security through effective trade enforcement operations. 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 containers worth more than $2.4 trillion last year alone. CBP also collected $46 billion in duties, taxes, and other fees, making CBP the U.S. government’s second largest source of revenue.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act aligns with these goals by enhancing CBP’s ability to prevent violations and take strong actions against violators.  It bolsters our ability to prevent and disrupt the flow of counterfeit goods into the U.S., a critical tool to safeguarding U.S. intellectual property rights.  The Act also formally recognizes CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), one of the agency’s major efforts to modernize and streamline operations by consolidating certain operations by industry sectors.  It also strengthens CBP’s efforts around Preclearance, creating mechanisms to expand and fund these agreements, further extending CBP’s security capabilities abroad.  And, imperative to human rights protections around the world, the Act eliminates obstacles to preventing imports made with forced or child labor into the United States.

CBP relies on strong partnerships with the private sector, integrated enforcement with our partner agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI), and advanced enforcement capabilities to carry out our incredibly broad mission successfully.

As CBP continues to safeguard legitimate trade and travel at our borders, I am proud to say that the 60,000 men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection remain committed to enforcing our trade laws and protecting the nation’s economic security.

The bill signed into law is the result of successful collaboration among many offices. I am grateful to everyone who participated in affecting this landmark legislation. 

Last modified: 
February 8, 2017