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Trusted Trader Program to Combat Seafood Fraud Under Development

Friday, April 29, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking public input through June 28 on the design and implementation of a Commerce Trusted Trader Program as part of an effective seafood traceability process to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud. This program would establish within the previously proposed Seafood Import Monitoring Program such benefits as reduced targeting and inspections and enhanced streamlined entry into U.S. commerce for holders of an international fisheries trade permit that are certified for participation in the CTTP.

One of the recommendations offered by the Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud concerns the development of a risk-based traceability program. The first step taken to address this recommendation was the identification of those species likely to be at risk of IUU fishing or seafood fraud, while the second step was a February 2016 proposed rule that would establish data reporting, recordkeeping and related operational requirements at the point of entry into U.S. commerce for imported fish and fish products of at-risk species. These requirements would apply to importers of record, who would be required to obtain an IFTP.

NMFS states that the next step is to develop and implement a trusted trader program for importers of the species covered by the final rule to be issued to establish an SIMP. The agency is therefore soliciting comments on the design and implementation of this program, including the following issues.

- whether the CTTP should be limited to permit holders or expanded to include entities with a role in securing the supply chain that are not directly responsible for recordkeeping and reporting and who may not be required to hold an IFTP (e.g., customs brokers, freight forwarders, foreign harvesters, foreign processors or foreign exporting companies)

- the criteria for evaluating and certifying IFTP holders as trusted traders; e.g., the compliance record of the applicant for other federal programs, the extent to which the applicant has measures in place to verify the source and chain of custody of imported fish and fish products, and the nature and complexity of the supply chains from which the applicant sources its imports

- how the criteria should be weighted when considering certification of an IFTP holder

- which attributes of a supply chain covered by the scope of the SIMP (harvest, landing, shipment, processing, storage, import entry, etc.), if any, can be considered as criteria for inclusion in a trusted trader program

- potential benefits that may expedite the flow of trade, reduce the burden of compliance for certified IFTP holders and improve implementation and enforcement efficiency

- the extent to which other trade monitoring programs that require importers of record to obtain an IFTP, report information at time of entry and maintain records describing the imported product’s chain of custody can or should be included in a CTTP

- how CTTP benefits and/or coordination or integration with other federal trusted trader programs might incentivize participation in the CTTP while ensuring the continued effectiveness of the SIMP

- the potential impacts and benefits of implementing the CTTP some weeks or months following implementation of the SIMP as well as measures that can be taken to minimize the cost and burden of those impacts and capture available benefits

While the IUU Task Force Action Plan calls for the CTTP to be finalized by September, the timing of actual implementation may be affected by the timing of the implementation of the SIMP final rule, completion of the structure and elements of the CTTP, and the timeframe for completion of CTTP business rules in the International Trade Data System. NMFS will make its best effort to implement the SIMP and the CTTP simultaneously.

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