CBP took its trade mission to Congress yesterday, showcasing the agency's multifaceted trade, international and agriculture programs at the second annual International Trade Capitol Hill Day.
"It's a comfortable, open dialogue for legislative staff and our subject matter experts on various aspects of the trade arena," said Charles Wollenhaupt of CBP's Office of Congressional Affairs, which organized the event.
Federal agency staff stood ready to deliver their in-a-nutshell explanations of the importance of their program operations to Hill staffers who visited the exhibits ringing the Rayburn House Office Building foyer.
"Textiles account for five percent of imports and 43 percent of duty revenues collected," said Natalie Hanson, representing CBP's Textile Policy Branch. She talked of CBP's collaborations, here and abroad, to protect the U.S. textile industry and public safety from illegal imports.
Public safety was a theme for many of the federal exhibitors, including CBP's Laboratories and Scientific Services. As staff explained the what and wherefore of LSS processes, one Capitol Hill visitor exclaimed, "That's amazing!" followed by, "I never would have thought of that!"
The layered enforcement strategies of CBP cargo inspection were outlined by Jennifer Climenhaga of the agency's Non-Intrusive Inspection Division. A video at her exhibit showed the giant inspection tools in action. Her explanation was complemented by William Allen of CBP's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, who detailed the agency's efforts to validate the security of importers' global supply chains to ensure national security and expedite trade. And international partnerships facilitate much of international trade, noted Christal Oliphant of CBP's Office of International Affairs, who took visitors through the agency's role in global collaborations.
Hounding the attention of all visitors was Trooper, the 3-year-old beagle from CBP's Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison, and his handler Jennifer Sullivan. Trooper had the day off from inspection and was lapping up the visitors' goodwill while Sullivan explained how Trooper sniffs out agricultural contraband.
CBP was joined at the event by several of its federal partners in security and trade: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Food and Drug Administration.
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.