CBP Announces Two New Trade Centers at First West Coast Trade Symposium
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar opened the 2012 West Coast Trade Symposium in Long Beach, Calif., yesterday with a clear message to the international business community: CBP is transforming its approach to trade.
During his opening remarks to an audience of more than 500 symposium participants at the Long Beach Convention Center, Aguilar spoke about the innovative changes taking place in CBP and among its trading partners to lead "to a faster, safer, more compliant, more predictable global supply chain - and a stronger economy."
This transformation, said Aguilar, will move CBP toward being "more supportive partners to the trade community," and will emphasize CBP's trade partners as "co-creators" of the new programs and policies. Examples of this are Simplified Entry and the Air Cargo Advance Screening program, or ACAS, which identifies stakeholder roles and responsibilities and provides greater security for air cargo.
ACAS allows CBP and the Transportation Security Administration to receive advance security information on cargo shipments inbound to the U.S. This allows CBP to target shipments that may be high-risk and therefore require additional screening. The ACAS pilot has expanded to 145 countries.
The Simplified Entry program currently being explored will help expedite entry and delivery of cargo. The plan allows importers to file earlier and to amend filings, allowing CBP to process information earlier and target potential risks.
Most importantly, said Aguilar, Simplified Entry is part of ACE, the Automated Commercial Environment now in its second phase of testing. He stated that ACE is helping to more efficiently facilitate travel and trade, as well as to prevent further terrorist attacks.
Stating that he had "saved the best for last," the acting commissioner directed attention to the Centers for Excellence and Expertise, or CEEs. He announced that, in addition to the virtual CEE for electronics in Long Beach and that for pharmaceuticals in New York, CBP has established a third, for automotive and aerospace in Detroit and a fourth in Houston for petroleum, natural gas and minerals.
The CEEs will "help transform trade by aligning customs procedures with modern business practices," said Aguilar.
With a warm welcome, Maria Luisa O'Connell, CBP senior advisor for trade and public engagement, invited the attendees to ask questions and to actively participate in the discussions.
The first roundtable discussion addressed the CEEs. Panelists included representatives from the American Petroleum Institute and Toyota, as well as from CBP trade offices around the country.
A second panel of the morning focused on ACAS/Simplified Entry, with the discussion covering efforts to link ACAS and Simplified Entry into an integrated end-to-end supply chain management approach. Featured were participants from CBP and Delta Airlines, the Janel Group and GE Energy.
The afternoon session opened with "Partnerships in the 21st Century," moderated by Todd C. Owen, CBP Los Angeles director of field operations. Panelists included representatives from the EU Commission, the EPA, BDP International and CBP trade officials.
The concluding event was a CBP leadership town hall meeting with the theme, "Transforming Trade for a Stronger Economy." Aguilar topped the list of the panel, which included several CBP assistant commissioners: Allen Gina, international trade; Kevin McAleenan, field operations, Charles Armstrong, information and technology; Eugene Schied, administration; and Charles Stallworth, international affairs.
During the final discussion the concept of "co-creation" was emphasized. "I believe that is the word that is been repeated the most all day long," commented O'Connell, who invited the attendees to the East Coast Trade Symposium scheduled for September.
In his closing remarks, Aguilar highlighted that "CBP is developing a culture that will energize and turbo-charge our economic engine, revitalizing our nation's economic competitiveness of the trade industry and at the same time will ensure the highest degree of security to our children, to their future and for our country, which is only possible in partnership with our trade community."
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.