CBP to host interagency import safety talks
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin will host a conference with other agencies and select members of the trade community to discuss ways to ensure the safety of imports, a CBP spokesperson confirmed.
The event is billed as a roundtable discussion among agency heads to improve interagency collaboration and communication for the purpose of stopping unsafe imports from entering domestic commerce. Participation at the chairman/commissioner level is expected from agencies with a role in import safety at the border, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Treasury Department, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The import safety meeting was announced by Bersin Aug. 4 during the quarterly meeting of the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee in Detroit. COAC is a formal mechanism for industry to provide advice to the Department of Homeland Security on customs compliance and trade security.
Agencies won't be allowed to participate in the roundtable unless they send their top official, according to a person who attended the COAC meeting. The leader can be accompanied by one other official. The objective is to have a serious discussion on import safety among those with the power to quickly execute any necessary changes.
Key areas of focus will be development of the International Trade Data System enabling the collection of electronic commercial data to meet regulatory requirements through a single government portal, and applying a risk management approach to import safety, trade facilitation and enforcement, according to information provided by CBP's Office of International Trade.
Members of the trade community will be invited to present their experience on how well agencies work together at the border by pointing out best practices and real-world examples of problems encountered at the border, and provide recommendations to streamline the import process, CBP said.
Last October, CBP stood up the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) for Import Safety to centralize federal monitoring and analysis of imports for potential safety violations and invited the Consumer Product Safety Commission to station personnel to help identify dangerous or defective goods for inspection. The two agencies are also partnering on a pilot program for companies to self-police compliance with import safety regulations. ' Eric Kulisch