CBP reorganizes international affairs office
The Office of International Affairs and Trade Relations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection is undergoing a significant reorganization that officials say will make it more effective.
CBP chief Ralph Basham has separated Trade Relations from the Office of International Affairs, returning it to an independent entity within the commissioner’s office where it has historically resided since its creation in the 1980s until two years ago, Assistant Commissioner Michael Mullen told a packed house at the agency’s annual Trade Symposium in Washington last week.
Mullen also announced that Al Gina will be the new Assistant Commissioner for Trade Relations, effective Nov. 10. Mullen is a political appointee and is leaving the agency as part of the Bush administration’s transition to a new president.
Gina currently serves as deputy assistant commissioner for the Office of Intelligence and Operations Coordination. He previously managed the creation of the Container Security Initiative and the Secure Freight Initiative for carrying out cargo scanning.
Charles Stallworth, who comes from the agency’s Air and Marine branch, is already on the job as deputy assistant commissioner for international affairs.
Basham moved the Office of Trade Relations out of his office shortly after becoming commissioner in mid-2006. Mullen, a top policy assistant at the time, was given responsibility for the combined Office of International Affairs and Trade Relations.
Mullen described the move as a way to give the trade community an opportunity to provide the next commissioner more direct input and reaction to upcoming policy and regulatory changes. Trade Relations is responsible for managing relations with the trade community and the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee, an industry-based panel.
Kim Marsho will continue as the director of trade relations.
Another move, also based on recommendations by CBP’s human resources department, involves the consolidation of International Affairs into more geographically focused branches to better align it with the State Department and other agencies that CBP collaborates with on international issues. ' Eric Kulisch