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CBP Seeks Additional Input on 21st Century Customs Framework

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is giving interested parties additional time to submit comments on the 21st Century Customs Framework, an initiative that will seek to address and enhance numerous aspects of the agency’s trade mission to better position it to operate in the 21st century trade environment. Any such input must be submitted no later than 11 April.

Through preliminary efforts, CBP has identified the following key themes on which it is interested in receiving public input. CBP will use any such input as it considers possible policy, regulatory and statutory improvements to further the trade mission. CBP is already pursuing related efforts through the Border Interagency Executive Council and the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee and is ensuring co-ordination among these initiatives.

Emerging Roles in the Global Supply Chain. Due to technological advances and new modes of conducting business, the modern international trade environment is marked by emerging actors and dynamic supply chains. CBP’s traditional legal frameworks were developed to primarily reflect containerised shipments and the supply chain to support such shipments, as opposed to small packages and business models built around e-commerce. CBP is seeking to ensure that all parties in the modern supply chain are aware of their responsibilities to promote safety and compliance, while still enabling legitimate trade and economic prosperity. With this in mind, the agency is interested in receiving input on:

  • new roles in the global supply chain that are unaccounted for in CBP’s current legal framework and steps the agency should take to account for these roles;
  • ways for CBP to work with e-commerce platforms and carriers to identify and deter illicit shipments; and
  • ways for new actors in the global supply chain to work with CBP to improve trade security.

Intelligent Enforcement. CBP’s efforts on intelligent enforcement are anchored on further improving risk management and the impact of efforts to detect high-risk activity, deter non-compliance and disrupt fraudulent behaviour, all in the interest of enforcing U.S. trade laws to protect America’s economic security. CBP’s intelligent enforcement efforts include exploring how to better utilise technology, big data and predictive analytics to drive decision-making. Input is therefore being sought on:

  • technologies that may be useful in predicting violative activities and an entity’s potential for violations;
  • most useful tools or sources of information regarding CBP’s compliance requirements and other resources that CBP can provide to ensure that trade stakeholders understand CBP requirements; and
  • ways for CBP to improve violation referral systems and allegation processing.

Cutting-Edge Technology. CBP is exploring the use of new technologies to improve trade facilitation and trade enforcement activities and is seeking input on:

  • emerging technologies that are most important for CBP to monitor or adopt;
  • technologies being adopted by the private sector that are incompatible with CBP’s current legal or policy frameworks; and
  • technologies on the horizon that have the potential to be a disruptive force (enabling or challenging) within the trade ecosystem.

Data Access and Sharing. The volume and types of data and the speed at which the data can be transmitted create a valuable opportunity for CBP and trade stakeholders. CBP is examining how more efficient data sharing can improve trade facilitation and trade enforcement and is also looking at ways to reduce the duplication or unnecessary capture of data. Input may therefore be submitted on:

  • data that CBP should share with importers, and vice versa, to improve trade facilitation and enforcement; and
  • ways to improve CBP’s overall data sharing with trade stakeholders.

21st Century Processes. CBP will be refining certain import processes to reflect the modern trade environment, improve the experience of importers, brokers and other important actors in the supply chain, and increase overall efficiency. The agency is placing a focus on processes that may be overly burdensome or outdated and is seeking input on:

  • specific import procedures or requirements that can be improved or refined, and how; and
  • international best practices (i.e., processes used by other customs agencies) that CBP should examine.

Self-Funded Customs Infrastructure. New requirements affecting CBP, partner government agencies and trade industry will necessitate updates to the Automated Commercial Environment outside of reoccurring maintenance. CBP is examining avenues to ensure that ACE has a consistent stream of funding for enhancements and new functionalities. While there will be no in-person statements related to this theme, input may be submitted on:

  • mechanisms outside of the annual congressional appropriations cycle that CBP should explore for consistent and timely funding for ACE enhancements; and
  • ways for the fee collection process to be streamlined, improved, or redesigned to more directly fund ACE enhancements.
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