U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin Wednesday chaired the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee quarterly meeting in Detroit.
COAC is a 20-member advisory committee established by Congress in 1987. The committee provides advice and recommendations to CBP and the Department of Treasury on the commercial operations of CBP and trade-related interdepartmental functions. Some of the issues that COAC focuses on include enhanced border and supply chain security, international efforts to harmonize customs practices and procedures, agriculture inspection, import safety, compliance, and modernization and automation process used to facilitate trade.
Prior to the meeting COAC members were provided a presentation and tour of the Chrysler Jefferson North assembly plant, Fort Street Cargo Facility and CBP passenger operations at the Ambassador Bridge. Participants were able to see more than 10 different operations that take place at both the cargo facility and also the bridge that included RFID-enabled identification technology and the automated targeting unit.
"I am a lifelong resident of Detroit" said Bill Cook, senior manager, import programs for the Chrysler Corporation, who gave the tour at the Jefferson plant. "I have lived here my whole life and the COAC is a vital program to the auto industry here in Detroit. Without COAC the auto industry would suffer."
Also in attendance from CBP were Dan Baldwin, assistant commissioner, international trade; Maria Luisa O'Connell, assistant commissioner, public affairs; and Kevin McAleenan, deputy assistant commissioner, field operations. Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary for policy, Department of Homeland Security, also attended.
"Partnership is much more than just work or dialogue," Alikhan said. "Partnership really means reliance. We need to be able to rely on each other. "
Committee members expressed appreciation for their reception in Detroit. The tour provided them with a first hand look at the import processing procedures and also passenger processing procedures.
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.