Deputy Commissioner Aguilar Hosts Trade Advisory Committee in El Paso
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar opened the 12th term Commercial Operations Advisory Committee's (COAC) third meeting held in El Paso, Texas, Oct. 4. This committee of 20 representatives from the trade industry advises the Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of the Treasury about the commercial operations of CBP and related DHS functions.
Aguilar co-chaired the event with Timothy Skud, the deputy assistant secretary of tax, trade, and tariff policy for the U.S. Department of Treasury. Aguilar told the group that it was critically important for CBP to hear from its trade constituents and receive constructive advice to help make CBP a better organization. He also told the group that economic prosperity and economic competitiveness cannot be achieved without security and security cannot be achieved without economic prosperity and economic competitiveness.
After Aguilar's welcoming remarks to those in attendance and those watching the five-hour meeting on the internet, the COAC reviewed and formulated recommendations on Role of the Broker, a broker revision project. The COAC also reviewed and discussed upcoming steps on the Center of Excellence and Expertise pilot, Account Executive pilot, and the work of the Simplified Entry and Financial Processing Work Group. The committee received an update on the work of the Automated Commercial Environment.
Other topics on the agenda included an update on the work of the One U.S. Government at the Border subcommittee and an update on the work being done by the IPR Enforcement subcommittee. The Antidumping/Countervailing Duty subcommittee and Air Cargo Security subcommittee also provided updates on their work. Land Border Security initiatives were also reviewed and discussed by the COAC. Best practices, insights learned, noteworthy results, and streamlining processes were shared.
During the meeting, the group viewed two CBP produced videos, including one profiling the work CBP did on an antidumping case involving the illegal transshipment of wire hangers as well as another video highlighting CBP's Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program. Both were well received by the COAC membership who encouraged CBP to distribute the videos as widely as possible through multiple channels.
COAC members attending the El Paso meeting were also provided the opportunity to learn more about CBP by participating in a border tour the day before the meeting was conducted. COAC members visited the El Paso port of entry and Ysleta cargo facility to observe CBP operations and receive briefings. The group learned about cargo processing, how CBP trains C-TPAT members to check conveyances for contraband, canine enforcement, agricultural and IPR enforcement, the CBP mobile laboratory, and other topics.
The group then boarded a bus for an eye-opening tour of the river and desert border environment hosted by the U.S. Border Patrol. The group received briefings on how Border Patrol uses a combination of personnel, technology and infrastructure to conduct its mission. COAC members also saw Border Patrol agents using remote video systems, fingerprinting systems, and other tools employed to stop the flow of illegal drugs and illegal immigration between legal crossing points. For many COAC members, it was the first time they had an opportunity to get a hands-on look of this side of CBP.
CBP's Office of Trade Relations encouraged individuals in trade professions to share their ideas, advice and feedback about these processes via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next COAC meeting is scheduled for Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C.
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.