Background

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is adopting as final, effective Nov. 6, regulatory amendments that establish the Centers of Excellence and Expertise as a permanent organizational component of the agency. These amendments provide broad, centralized decision-making authority to the Centers to enable them to facilitate trade, reduce transaction costs, increase compliance with applicable import laws, and achieve uniformity of treatment at ports of entry for identified industry sectors.

The Centers and the cities wherein each management office is located are as follows.

- Agriculture & Prepared Products (Miami)

- Apparel, Footwear & Textiles (San Francisco)

- Automotive & Aerospace (Detroit)

- Base Metals (Chicago)

- Consumer Products & Mass Merchandising (Atlanta)

- Electronics (Long Beach)

- Industrial & Manufacturing Materials (Buffalo)

- Machinery (Laredo)

- Petroleum, Natural Gas & Minerals (Houston)

- Pharmaceuticals, Health & Chemicals (New York)

CBP is adopting its December 2016 interim final rule (as modified in September 2019) as a final rule without changes and finalizing the transition of certain trade enforcement responsibilities and the majority of post-release trade functions from the purview of port directors to Center directors. Port directors continue to retain singular authority over matters pertaining to the control, movement, examination, and release of cargo. The Centers focus on nationwide entry summary processing and other trade oversight on a per-importer account basis through virtual means, which replaces traditional post-release import processing per entry at each port of entry with processing by a single assigned Center according to the importer account.

To conduct such processing, CBP has permanently staffed the Centers with personnel specializing in trade matters through an internal realignment. Center personnel have generally remained at their previous locations, primarily at ports of entry, to stay accessible to the trade community and continue to assist with enforcement and compliance issues that arise at ports of entry with the physical importation of cargo.

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