On May 24th-25th in Scottsdale, Arizona, members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership gathered with representatives of the trade community to discuss a variety of new initiatives and challenges currently facing the agency and the industry. Acting Commissioner, Kevin McAleenan; Executive Assistant Commissioner (EAC) for the Office of International Trade, Brenda Smith; and others from the Offices of International Trade, Field Operations, Trade Relations, and other U.S. agencies and departments such as Commerce and Agriculture, discussed topics such as Trade Enforcement, Technology Innovation, E-Commerce, Government-Industry Engagement, the CBP Centers of Excellence and Expertise, and special sessions for small businesses.
“Border Integration, Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization: Operational Challenges with a Multi-Sector Perspective"
On Wednesday, May 24th Andrew Farrelly provided insight at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) “Border Integration, Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization: Operational Challenges with a Multi-Sector Perspective" in Washington DC.
The event focused on analyzing the new challenges that Border integration operations face and discussed and validated action plans for the approval of specific IDB trade facilitation projects.
CT Strategies Partner, Andrew Farrelly, was invited as a subject matter expert on non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology for cargo. The right NII technology processes containers faster to make border operations more secure and efficient, which promotes economic development and prosperity. He discussed the different types of NII Technology and how they can be selected according to the needs of the border.
President Trump officially informed the U.S. Congress of the Administration’s intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) today. Because a renegotiation of NAFTA was expected, many had already begun speculating what the renegotiation package may look like. Some believe it may contain a liberalization of NAFTA’s rules of origin, a provision enforcing the free flow of data across borders, provisions streamlining customs enforcement, and paperwork efficiency.
In an interview with Brian Bradley of International Trade Today, Mr. Gina explained how trade negotiations consider the impact tougher Customs enforcement has on U.S. Commerce. Additionally, Mr. Gina explained how nuance in the trade agreement language could impact U.S. commerce as well as the new agreement’s successful negotiation. Finally, Mr. Gina explained the impact the trade community has on validating the provisions and language of the treaty when it comes to Customs enforcement. Ultimately, the trade community helps determine the credibility of the proposed validation documentation processes.
For the full article, please read Brian Bradley’s piece on International Trade Today.
Biometric information sharing between the Five Eyes network blocks 20 known or suspected terrorists from receiving visas
As part of a successful demonstration of multilateral information-sharing, 20 known or suspected terrorists were identified and denied entry to Australia after attempting to apply for business and short-term holiday visas. The individuals were identified as a result of increased biometric information sharing between the Five Eyes global intelligence network, an agreement between the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Under a pilot program of this new biometric data-sharing arrangement, Australian officials were able to match data from individuals seeking visas to U.S. databases. Using this data, Australian officials identified 14 suspected terrorists attempting to enter Australia via a third country.
Currently, this enhanced screening system is fully operational. Australian officials now require biometric testing of visa applicants from [high] “risk” countries. This data will then be compared to biometric databases across the Five Eyes network. Additionally, certain refugees and asylum seekers seeking entry into Australia will need to undergo biometric testing.
For more information, please read The Australian.
In December 2016, the U.S. General Services Administration awarded a contract to enhance the Columbus, New Mexico Land Port of Entry. The Columbus Port of Entry was built in 1989 to service a light number of visitors and relatively low flow of commercial trade. Since that time, the Port has gained greater significance as a crossing for agricultural trade. Analyzing data from 1995 to 2016, the Port has seen an increase of nearly 800% in truck container crossings, rising to over 13,000 containers in 2016.
The Port is a particularly busy crossing for chilies and jalapenos. During their harvest season, it is not uncommon to see a large spike in commercial traffic at the Port. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), citing this increase in commercial trade, recommended an expansion at the Port to facilitate the incoming agricultural products.
The GSA has acknowledged the increased traffic at the Columbus Port of Entry and has awarded a contract to increase the port’s capacity to efficiently and securely process this increase in traffic. Under this contract, construction will include: expanding inspection facilities; increasing the number of personally operated vehicle lanes from 2 to 3; adding a commercial lane, adding an additional pedestrian lane; and expanding commercial dock spaces from 6 to 14. Construction for the expansion to the port officially began on April 17.
For more information on the expansion of the Columbus Port of Entry, refer to the GSA Press Release on the matter.