We recommend reading Part 1 of our series for a detailed look into challenges recent technological innovations and pressing challenges CBP as an Agency faces.
Readers interested in how CBP and Private Sector are partnering to combat a host of trade violations, including Forced Labor, and the ways by which CBP aims to help its most trusted partners would be most interested reading Part 3 of our series.
In part one, we discussed technological innovations, such as automated cargo processing for trucks, Blockchain and Artificial intelligence, and cyber security challenges the agency faces.
Today, we focus on the challenges CBP faces as it relates to E-Commerce, ACE/ Single Window. We also present a specific case where CBP presents some of the challenges facing the Single Window in importing specific items, in this case Alligator Skin Car Seats.
Informal Entry Data Collection, Info-Sharing from IP Rights Holders and Other Ways CBP is Looking to Reduce Risk Associated with the “Tsunami of Small Packages” Attributed to E-Commerce:
CBP has already had some success expanding electronic advance data collection on international postal shipments coming into JFK Airport, resulting in an increase in seizures of contraband from China. CBP is also asking rights holders to share more information about their copyrights in order to improve detection of counterfeit items. Intellectual property rights violations have been one of the significant challenges presented by e-commerce.
In addition to industry, CBP is also looking to international partnerships and through the World Customs Organization (WCO). To the extent that compliance, enforcement, and data-collection strategies can be harmonized by customs agencies around the world, it will help drive best practices in risk mitigation and industry engagement.
Commissioner McAleenan added that CBP needs to be educated by the trade about evolving e-commerce business practices so that the agency can better evolve its e-commerce activities as well. He stated that perhaps an e-commerce partnership program like ACAS may be something to consider.
CBP Recognizes the Need to Maintain and Refine ACE
CBP will need annual funding from Congress, beyond standard maintenance funding, to continue ACE development. The PGAs may also need to request Congressional appropriations to develop functionalities specific to their agencies. Regarding industry engagement, the Commissioner stated that requests for ACE would continue to flow through the Office of Trade Relations and the Customs Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC). He also indicated that the Trade Support Network (TSN) may be reinvigorated to help engage technical support from industry.
Importing a Car with Alligator Skin Seats could be Challenging until further Single Window Enhancements are Made
Partner Government Agency Functionalities
Now that ACE core functionality is finished, post-core implementations are being made on a prioritized basis, considering importance to the trade, the government, and available funding. XD Leonard noted that there are objective criteria for expanding automation capabilities of ACE (the Single Window).
Officials from FDA and FWS noted that tariff codes for their products can sometimes be ambiguous and therefore difficult to know which agency has jurisdiction. For example, when importing a car with alligator skin seats, it may not be readily known whether the seats are an agriculture issue through the USDA or an FWS issue. PGAs will need to fund some of the requested enhancements themselves as progress is made in addition to CBP’s ACE/Single Window funding.
There was also discussion about the Global Business Identifier Initiative, an effort to replace the Manufacturer ID # as a unique identifier for all trade entities. Currently, two different options are being tested, both administered by non-profit organizations, at relatively low cost to the trade participants.