Assistant Commissioner Gina Shares CBP's Top Trade Initiatives
When CBP's Assistant Commissioner of the Office of International Trade Allen Gina spoke to trade business leaders from the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, NCBFAA, Monday, he lightheartedly greeted them in jest. But he wasn't kidding when he told the group how much they were valued by CBP.
Photo Credit:James Tourtellotte
"The truth is the NCBFAA and each of you are extremely important to us," said Gina, who was the keynote speaker at the opening day luncheon of the association's 2012 Government Affairs Conference held in Washington, D.C. "When we think about partnerships and partners, the NCBFAA is one of the most critical. Every commissioner to date, including Deputy Commissioner [David] Aguilar, recognizes that and he wanted me to convey that to you today."
Gina, pinch-hitting for Aguilar who was in Texas yesterday, also told those attending that the deputy commissioner's focus is on modernizing and streamlining. "Everything we do needs to be safer, faster, cheaper," said Gina. To illustrate his point, he shared the agency's top trade transformation initiatives. The seven initiatives include-the Role of the Broker; ACE, the agency's automated cargo processing system; the Centers of Excellence and Expertise, Simplified Entry-Air Cargo Advanced Screening, trusted trade partnerships; trade intelligence, and One U.S. Government at the Border.
Among the key points Gina expressed was the importance of the ACE program. "There's no way we're going to transform our operations with an antiquated system or paper forms. There needs to be some type of automation and ACE is it," he said. "I'm a big believer that the only way we're going to create efficiencies in the future is to deliver ACE to you. I'm here to tell you that the agency is fully committed to continuing with ACE's development and delivery."
Gina also noted that the new industry specific Centers of Excellence and Expertise were game changers for the agency. "The centers are going to create tremendous efficiencies for CBP, for other government agencies, and for the trade community at large," he said, assuring the audience that brokers will be involved in the process. "I'd like to dispense with the notion that brokers do not have an active role to play within the centers. Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "By partnering with brokers, CBP has expanded our facilitation efforts, streamlining the import process-and the centers are the strategic platform to continue this partnership."
Approximately 120 members of the association attended the luncheon, which was part of the two-day conference sponsored by the NCBFAA, the leading transportation logistics association in the country. The annual conference provides an opportunity for industry leaders to meet with legislators and update them on critical importing and exporting trade issues. Established in 1897 in New York, the NCBFAA currently is celebrating 115 years as the national voice of the industry.
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.