CBP joins importers, exporters at AAEI conference to discuss trade
More than 500 importers, exporters and retailers from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C., June 5-7 at the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) conference and received updates from industry peers as well as CBP’s Deputy Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan and Executive Assistant Commissioner (EAC) for the Office of Trade Brenda B. Smith.
The wide-ranging topics covered within the “Trade (R) Evolution” theme of the conference reflected not only the broad swath of industries and equities represented, but also the significance of the recently passed Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2016. TFTEA supports CBP’s efforts to ensure a fair and competitive trade environment, and bolsters CBP’s enforcement of intellectual property rights, antidumping/countervailing duties, and force labor-derived goods, among other elements of CBP’s trade mission.
Deputy Commissioner McAleenan, who gave the keynote address, spoke of the dramatic change in the trade landscape in recent years, marked by accelerated globalization and growth in trade, the development and application of new technologies, and the enactment of the TFTEA legislation.
“Congress and the administration sent a clear signal that economic competitiveness and enforcement of our trade laws are among the country’s highest priorities,” said Deputy Commissioner McAleenan, as a result of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act signed in February of this year.
The Act is also a major milestone for CBP, as it constitutes the agency’s first authorization since its creation within the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.” The Act supports CBP’s efforts to ensure a fair and competitive trade environment, and bolsters CBP’s enforcement of intellectual property rights, antidumping/countervailing duties, and forced labor-derived goods.
Discussion of TFTEA’s many aspects were prominent throughout the event.
During the morning kickoff panel, EAC Smith emphasized the importance of the new TFTEA provisions, including discussion of the increase in the de minimis rule, which involves the minimum amount of merchandise required to be declared on imports, as well as updates on Trusted Trader, ACE and Single Window.
ACE, or Automated Commercial Environment, is on track for final deployment by December. Its “single window” approach reflects CBP’s leading efforts to streamline paperwork requirements across 47 partner agencies to create one portal for importers to use to electronically file paperwork, resulting in the automation of 133 paper forms.
EAC Smith also spoke about collaborating with Canada and Mexico on single windows and trade enforcement initiatives, as well as the broader global engagement strategy and World Customs Organization framework for shared approaches promoting safety, security and prosperity with international partners. The single window concept provides an earlier visibility into shipment data, which expedites import/export assessments at the border and enables near real-time decision making.
“On a typical day, CBP screens more than 70,000 truck, rail, and sea cargo containers, and hundreds of thousands of express consignment shipments and mail parcels, said Deputy Commissioner McAleenan. “In Fiscal Year 2015 alone, CBP processed $2.4 trillion in imports – and more than $1.5 trillion worth of U.S. exports—that’s nearly $4.5 trillion in international trade--largely represented by the folks in the room. Those numbers will only grow this year.”
Both EAC Smith and Deputy Commissioner McAleenan noted the hosts and participants significant contributions to innovation and partnership with CBP, and continued commitment to finding unique approaches to risk management, trade facilitation and enforcement in our global networks.