U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee held an open meeting Feb. 28 in Miami, Fla. In a keynote address, Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan highlighted CBP’s improved enforcement authority under the Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act of 2015. McAleenan said this legislation, which created “over 100 new mandates and requirements,” has in many ways “reshaped the interaction between CBP and the trade community.” He added that CBP has made “significant progress” in enhancing U.S. enforcement efforts and has “aligned operations with today’s complex trade environment.”
According to a CBP press release, the COAC subcommittees provided recommendations to improve automation along with better ways for CBP to collect revenue. Also on the table were proposals to improve internet commerce, while a working group gave updates on “block chain” technology that enables certificates and licenses to be electronically submitted. CBP noted in this regard that foreign governments generate seals and signatures that must be shown before their goods can enter the country and, without proper protections, those documents risk being manipulated or fraudulently produced.
The meeting also considered measures to protect intellectual property such as the Report IP Theft campaign that encourages reporting violations through a newly established toll-free hotline. Participants urged CBP to work with e-commerce stakeholders to develop an automated online survey for customers who believe their shipments contain phony products as well as to look for better ways to handle cargo that arrives without a logo or trademark (known as “blanks”).
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