Aguilar Meets with Trade Groups to Improve Economic Competitiveness
As part of an ongoing effort to work more closely with the trade community, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar held a series of roundtable discussions with trade representatives at the agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters yesterday.
It was the first full day of meetings with trade organizations hosted by CBP this summer.
Typically held on a monthly basis, the meetings are designed to provide an informal setting for agency officials and trade association leaders to discuss issues and share mutual concerns.
Businesses for a Better Border, also known as B3, was one of the groups that met with Aguilar. Launched last February to support the shared objectives of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, B3 is a cross-border manufacturing coalition that advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on policies pertaining to perimeter security, regulatory compliance, and economic competitiveness. In May, the leaders of B3 sent a letter to the administrations of both countries with recommendations on how to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S./Canadian industries, stimulate export growth, and support business investments and job creation.
"Let me just very quickly thank you for being here," said Aguilar to the members of B3. "Having read your May 18th letter, you have expressed the exact direction in which we, at CBP, are trying to go. You are speaking our language, and we want to continue hearing from you."
One of the recommendations discussed at the meeting was the desire to expand mutual recognition of trusted partnership programs for travel and trade. In 2008, CBP and the Canada Border Services Agency, known as CBSA, signed a mutual recognition arrangement between the agencies' security trade partnership programs. The U.S. program, Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, C-TPAT, and its Canadian counterpart, Partners in Protection Program, PIP, are unique in that they have a significant number of common members. Approximately 77 percent of PIP's 1,442 members are also members of C-TPAT.
"A third of C-TPAT's members are Canadian companies," said Mathew Wilson, vice president of national policy for the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canada's leading trade and industry association.
During the first quarter of 2011, the concept of using single application requirements for PIP and C-TPAT was tested. A pilot was conducted with four highway carrier companies - two located in Canada and two in the U.S. "It was very successful," said CBP Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations Thomas Winkowski. "It was a huge step. We're looking at expanding the pilot in September."
Aguilar also hosted meetings with the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance and the Public Border Operators Association; the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, and the Trade Support Network. This was the first time the Trade Support Network has participated in a Trade Day forum. The Trade Support Network is comprised of trade representatives who provide input into the design and development of modernization projects such as CBP's Automated Commercial Environment, better known as ACE.
By Marcy Mason, Office of Public Affairs
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.