It's been another busy month in the Office of Trade! In September, I traveled to the United Kingdom to attend the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, meet with the U.K. Border Force and His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and talked to colleagues involved in BritishAmerican Business. The trip was a valuable chance to learn from the diverse perspectives of academia and stakeholders from diverse organizations from around the world.
Among the topics we discussed were the various efforts to combat trade-based money laundering, a practice that is often used by transnational criminal organizations to disguise and move illicit profits over multiple industries. I also had the chance to talk through our exciting modernization initiatives − including the 21st Century Customs Framework and interoperability − which are increasingly important to achieving our goals amid the rapid changes of today's trade environment.
You can read more about my trip and the ways we're working to further these efforts below.
~ Executive Assistant Commissioner AnnMarie R. Highsmith
- EAC's Message
- I. Office of Trade Activity
- II. Outreach
- III. News You Can Use
- Article 1: CBP reminds the traveling public of restrictions for avian commodities originating from or transiting Mexico
- Article 2: CBP agriculture specialists in Louisville stop shipments with almost 1,500 pounds of prohibited meat
- Article 3: $1 million in counterfeit merchandise seized by CBP Chicago
- Article 4: 1,747 earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings worth over $12 million seized by Louisville CBP
- Trade Statistics
On September 18, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it modified the existing Withhold Release Order against Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its wholly owned subsidiaries (Supermax Glove Manufacturing, Maxter Glove Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd., and Maxwell Glove Manufacturing Bhd.) due to successful remediation of forced labor indicators in the company’s supply chain. Imports of disposable gloves manufactured by Supermax Corporation Bhd. and its wholly owned subsidiaries are no longer subject to trade restrictions for violating U.S. trade laws prohibiting the use of forced labor.
Thus far in fiscal year 2023, CBP has issued four modifications. CBP’s forced labor enforcement efforts have resulted in the improvement of living and working conditions for tens of thousands of workers, including the repayment of more than $50 million in withheld wages and recruitment fees used to trap workers in debt bondage.
For more details, read the Supermax Corp press release.
On September 12, CBP announced the completion of its first interoperability test. Interoperability allows different technology systems to work with each other, bridging data silos that exist today among global supply chain participants and making possible a standard manner of communication between the private sector and government agencies. Interoperability provides businesses the flexibility to choose from various technologies to exchange data with CBP. The setting of such standards will help streamline communication and facilitation and improve security in supply chains.
CBP’s recent test focused on pipeline oil and steel supply chains and involved some of the largest companies in both industries. The system enhances work environments, removing the need for paper and allowing for the real-time exchange of data, which provides greater security and more timely reactions from the agency. The system also involves data exchanges from both traditional and non-traditional supply chain actors, allowing CBP to combine data that includes information of shipments prior to arrival with data that already exists in the Automated Commercial Environment.
CBP is committed to promoting global interoperability as part of its overall modernization efforts. CBP will continue to invest in integrating technology solutions through global interoperability standards, and plans additional domestic and international testing in 2024, focusing on e-commerce, natural gas, and food safety.
For more details, read the Supply Chain Transparency press release.
CBP Office of Trade Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) John Leonard traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia in late September to discuss a wide array of customs matters with public and private sector partners. In addition to fruitful discussions with the Indonesian Directorate General of Customs and Excise, DEAC Leonard held talks on shared trade facilitation and enforcement priorities with senior leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. DEAC Leonard also met with private sector partners, including the U.S.-Asia Business Council, Expeditors International, the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, and DHL to discuss customs modernization, regional trade issues, and opportunities for further public-private cooperation on customs and trade matters.
On September 8, Office of Trade Executive Assistant Commissioner (EAC) AnnMarie Highsmith met with the U.K. Border Force and His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in London. EAC Highsmith and the U.K. representatives discussed the potential for bilateral cooperation on key efforts including preventing the importation of goods made by forced labor; strengthening supply chain security in the e-commerce environment; developing a “single window” like the U.S. Automated Commercial Environment for processing trade-related import and export data required by the government; and enhancing the role of customs administrations in combatting climate change and environmental degradation.
During her trip to the U.K. in early September, EAC Highsmith delivered remarks on CBP’s trade facilitation and enforcement priorities in a roundtable discussion with members of BritishAmerican Business, a trade association composed of businesses with operations in both the U.S. and the U.K. EAC Highsmith provided updates on several CBP trade facilitation and enforcement priorities, including ongoing work to collect and assess data in advance of a shipment’s arrival at a port of entry, efforts to improve supply chain resiliency, and initiatives to modernize statutory authorities. She also discussed the ways in which CBP is working to address threats posed by climate change and forced labor through the Green Trade Strategy and the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, respectively. The roundtable was a great opportunity not only to provide updates and information on CBP’s trade efforts, but also to receive valuable feedback from the transatlantic trade community.
- CBP reminds the traveling public of restrictions for avian commodities originating from or transiting Mexico
- CBP agriculture specialists in Louisville stop shipments with almost 1,500 pounds of prohibited meat
- $1 million in counterfeit merchandise seized by CBP Chicago
- 1,747 earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings worth over $12 million seized by Louisville CBP
In August 2023, CBP processed more than 2.8 million entry summaries valued at $281 billion, identifying estimated duties of nearly $7.1 billion to be collected by the U.S. government. Trade via the maritime environment accounted for 43 percent of the total import value, followed by air, truck, and rail. CBP identified 320 entries valued at more than $68 million for further examination based on the suspected use of forced labor, and which may be subject to a Withhold Release Order, Forced Labor Finding, or the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s rebuttable presumption prohibiting importation into the United States.
CBP seized over 1,700 shipments that contained counterfeit goods valued at more than $177 million had they been genuine.