Day One consisted of high level discussions with panels of government and industry experts covering topics such as:
Opportunities and challenges on the horizon for global trade, including:
- Advancements in automated processing, industry-government partnerships, harmonization of processes between foreign border management authorities, and innovations in risk management.
Impacts on global trade of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and the proliferation of Authorized Economic Operator Programs around the world.
- This included discussions with representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of Trade and Regulatory Reforms and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Integration and Trade Sector, which focuses on Latin America.
- These offices play large roles in providing aid and loans for trade capacity building efforts in developing countries, aimed at stimulating overall economic growth.
Cooperation on trade issues between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
- CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske and his counterpart in Mexico, Ricardo Trevino, discussed efforts between their nations to coordinate information-sharing, harmonize processes (notably in the rail environment), and launch innovative cargo pre-inspection pilots.
Collaboration between CBP and the trade industry.
- Representatives from the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations (COAC), a collection of trade industry representatives authorized by Congress to formally consult and provide recommendations to CBP and other U.S. agencies concerned with trade, discussed best practices and lessons learned in working with CBP.
- Engagement between CBP and the COAC represents the important principles of ‘co-creation’and ‘bi-directional education’ that are critical to successful public-private partnerships.
The Current and future state of CBP’s role in the global supply chain.
- Senior agency leadership overseeing CBP trade policy, operations, related technology and procurements, and engagement with foreign partners spoke about the ongoing efforts of their respective offices. Topics included:
- The need to take a comprehensive approach toward Trusted Trader programs, cargo pre-inspection activities, and mutual recognition arrangements with foreign partners.
- The need to move new trade regulations, coordinated with industry, through the federal approval process more swiftly in order to keep up with the evolving trade environment.
- The need to modernize customs revenue collection and efficiently fund new border crossing infrastructure.
- Large and small scale technology advancements and the challenge of addressing cyber security as new automation and mobile tools are operationalized.
- Collaborating with foreign partners to advance trade facilitation measures, including the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework.
Day Two consisted of five (5) breakout sessions with U.S. government and industry representatives. Panel topics included:
Advancement of the ‘Single Window’ trade processing system.
- This system, supported by CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), will streamline the intake and processing of trade data and documents across multiple U.S. government agencies rather than force filers to submit documents to each separately.
- CBP officials were joined by representatives from certain agencies participating in the Single Window pilot, to include: the Food and Drug Administration, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- This panel included officials from CBP, ICE, and the EPA. Agency representatives solicited feedback from industry on how the government and private sector can better collaborate to crack down on trade violations which can pose health and safety risks to U.S. consumers and put legitimate businesses at an economic disadvantage.
The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)
- CBP representatives provided updates to industry members on its new automated trade processing system, which is being rolled out in phases over 2015-16.
The Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEES)
- The CEEs, which operate virtually, use an account (rather than transaction) based approach, to serve trade stakeholders. They serve to increase uniformity of practices across ports of entry and facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide.
- CBP representatives who are currently leading CEE operations in the field were joined by industry members to discuss best practices and lessons learned. Discussion included the role of ACE and CBP’s coordination efforts with participating government agencies (PGA) in continuing development of the CEEs.
The Future of Exports
- Advancements in automation and single window processing will allow many export processing functions to be merged and streamlined.
- Incorporating exports into a Trusted Trader model also presents new strategies for risk management related to exports.
- CBP and U.S. Census Bureau, Office of Trade Regulations and Outreach, engaged with audience members to discuss the changing landscape on exports, acknowledging there is much more work to be done.
 A representative from Canada was not able to attend due to the fact that elections in Canada had just taken place.