The U.S. Customs and Border Protection 2017 West Coast Trade Symposium that was held recently in Scottsdale focused on partnerships between the U.S. government and the private sector. CBP indicated in a June 5 press release that the symposium emphasized the importance of looking ahead together “as we write a story of continuity.”

The symposium opened with a series of questions between recently nominated Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and a senior executive from a customs brokerage and freight forwarding company. That interaction addressed many of CBP’s top priorities, such as reducing supply chain barriers without slowing down facilitation, leveraging new technologies like unique identifiers and block chain to assist with risk management, and CBP’s recent engagement with Mexico and Canada on harmonizing the North America single window.

Panels held throughout the two-day event examined such issues as change in the global economy and the challenges with managing the day to day while also dealing with a complex trade environment; ways in which innovation benefits consumers, increases the availability of new products, and reduces costs while driving economic growth and development; ways in which CBP is using big data to drive trade policy and action, as well as how the agency is moving from a “collector of data” mindset to a “connector of data” mindset to predict and address the many risks involving trade; the window of opportunity for small businesses to work in conjunction with consumers as well as other businesses; and matters related to the Centers of Excellence and Expertise, enforcement, the movement and security of e-commerce, and Enforce and Protect Act investigations and CBP’s authority to combat evasion.

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