Official details CBP duty activities, modernization vision

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Source: American Shipper

Brenda Smith, Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade executive assistant commissioner, said her agency will develop modernization projects that will result in pilots.

CBP has enforced 164 new absolute quotas, 43% more than previously; has received 46% more ruling requests while still meeting its ruling issuance benchmark of 30 days; and has issued 1,000 bond insufficiency notices per month, up from 56 per month before Section 232 and Section 301 remedies started, Smith said.

The agency also has collected $24 billion in additional duties, she said.

Smith also touched on CBP’s 21st Century Customs Framework initiative, which she said is the first comprehensive review of the customs legal environment since the Customs Modernization Act was passed in 1993.

Customs will identify and develop modernization projects, and resulting pilots, under five general principles as it works to flesh out a detailed 20- to 30-year vision, Smith said.

The five areas are enhancing facilitation through 21st century processes, defining customs and trade responsibilities for emerging actors, ensuring seamless data sharing and access, employing intelligent enforcement and ensuring adequate funding to support all these efforts, she said.

CBP developed those five areas as it is reviewing various issues facing the modern trade environment.

“Did you know that there are nearly 400 ways to classify a shoe? Is that really helpful in our current economy?” Smith said. “Did you know that we’ve received or processed one and a half million small packages a day? These numbers are staggering, and the volume that we’re seeing both in the e-commerce framework as well as through other modes of transportation comes with increased risk around shipments in contraband, including Fentanyl, counterfeit and unsafe goods.”

During the summit, CBP Executive Director for Trade Policy and Programs John Leonard said legislation might be eventually required to assist the agency in responding to the recent increase in e-commerce shipments.

“A lot of these entities, platforms … marketplaces we don’t regulate, but we’re finding out that we need to have some interaction with them and perhaps eventually need some legislation,” Leonard said. An “area that we’re looking at is how can we get better information and data from some of these parties that know a whole lot about shipments and different packages coming in.”

CBP has already worked to start some testing, including on how cognitive analytics might add value to the risk assessment that the agency does and on how blockchain might support customs’ work surrounding compliance and supply chains, Smith said.

After announcing the 21st Century Customs Framework initiative in August, CBP has held two comment periods that closed on Feb. 4 and April 11.

Smith said CBP likely hasn’t issued its last request for comments regarding its 21st Century Customs Framework initiative and entreated audience members to respond to forthcoming CBP requests for pilot volunteers.

“Our innovation relies on active engagement with our supply chain partners and to solve our problems and to develop and test potential solutions, but we need companies willing to invest time and often sometimes automation to ensure that our ideas will work in the real world,” she said.



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