CBP Hosts International Trade Day Event on Capitol Hill
It's an uncommon sight to see a beagle roaming the hallowed halls of Congress, but for today Trooper, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture detection dog, fit in perfectly.
CBP employees from a number of offices joined personnel from partner agencies today to take part in the Capitol Hill International Trade Day, held in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. According to Assistant Commissioner Michael J. Yeager of the Office of Congressional Affairs, which organized the event, the focus of the day was information sharing.
"It is vitally important that we as an agency demonstrate CBP's successes in our trade mission, especially in partnership with other government agencies," said Yeager. "Through events like this one, we have an opportunity to help educate and inform Members of Congress and their staffs about the substantial impact of our work to facilitate the flow of legitimate trade across our borders."
Trooper, who works at the Port of Baltimore with his handler, CBP Agricultural Specialist Jennifer Sullivan, was one of many tangible examples of both how and why CBP's trade mission is important to the nation. Other exhibits included samples of trademark-infringing and knockoff merchandise seized at ports and some of the specialized laboratory and field equipment used to screen cargo entering the U.S.
Members of Congress, as well as staff members, had the opportunity to speak with representatives from throughout CBP, as well as other agencies that play a role in international trade both inside and outside the Department of Homeland Security.
Ned Leigh, a senior attorney in CBP's Office of Regulations and Rulings who has been detailed to the majority staff of the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee for the last two years, brings perspective from both sides of the trade day.
"Members and staff are deeply familiar with the issues that affect them and their constituents, but may not always have the opportunity to see how broad CBP's trade mission is," said Leigh. "Information they get today can help put trade policy in a larger context and provide an excellent perspective on how this field has changed and evolved."
The presence of agencies that CBP partners closely with in the trade mission, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration helped exemplify the wide array of resources applied to the trade mission.
For those in attendance, the event was ultimately an opportunity to see first hand the full spectrum of CBP's trade mission from private sector partnerships and interagency collaboration to the numerous processes involved in protecting the nation while promoting legitimate trade.
CBP offices participating in the event included the Office of International Trade's Intellectual Property Rights, Textiles, Import Safety/Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center and eRulings groups; the Office of International Affairs; the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism; the Office of Information and Technology's Laboratories and Scientific Services and the Office of Field Operations' Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison.
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.