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CBP Commemoration 9-11

We will never forget the ones we lost 14 years ago and we honor the bravery of those who worked to save others. @CustomsBorder

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USCP Counterfeit stuffThousands of counterfeit designer handbags have been uncovered by federal officers in a shipping container at Miami’s seaport.

Customs and Border Protection officials say a recent review confirmed there were 1,200 fake Gucci handbags and 1,195 Louis Vuitton handbags in the container. The bags were initially seized Aug. 19 in a shipment from China.

Authorities say the handbags are worth more than $1 million if sold as legitimate.

Investigators began examining cartons containing the handbags after noting that they were not declared on any import documents. The shipment included 825 other cartons of clothes, shoes and similar apparel.

Last year CBP seized more than 23,000 counterfeit items nationally worth about $1.2 billion.

kenya-usa-flagThe U.S. signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with Kenya marking a significant milestone in collaboration on security and trade facilitation between the two countries. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Deputy Commissioner (Acting) Kevin McAleenan signed the agreement on behalf of CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Minister of the Treasury Henry Rotich signed the agreement on behalf of Kenya.

“Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements are valuable tools in the enforcement of our laws as they facilitate information sharing between international partners,” said Deputy Commissioner (Acting) Kevin McAleenan. “This agreement will expand our efforts to combat illicit cross-border activities and will enable us to continue our work to prevent, detect and investigate customs offenses.”

“Today’s signing represents the United States and Republic of Kenya’s joint commitment to elevate cooperation to safeguard our borders through the exchange of information and mutual assistance to combat customs law violations,” said ICE Principal Deputy Assistant Director Thomas S. Winkowski. “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, together with our partners at CBP, looks forward to future cooperative enforcement efforts with the Kenya Revenue Authority.”

The U.S. has now signed 71 CMAAs with other customs administrations across the world. CMAAs are bilateral agreements between countries and enforced by their respective customs administrations. They provide the legal framework for the exchange of information and evidence to assist countries in the enforcement of customs laws, including duty evasion, trafficking, proliferation, money laundering, and terrorism-related activities. CMAAs also serve as foundational documents for subsequent information sharing arrangements, including mutual recognition arrangements on authorized economic operator programs.

The U.S. – Kenya CMAA was signed at CBP headquarters as part of the U.S. – Africa Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit included meetings between President Obama and 51 African heads of state. Source: GSN Magazine

isfU.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that on July 9, 2013, it will begin full enforcement of Importer Security Filing (ISF or 10+2), and will start issuing liquidated damages against ISF importers and carriers for ISF non-compliance.

According to the CBP release, “in order to achieve the most compliance with the least disruption to the trade and to domestic port operations, it has been applying a “measured and commonsense approach” to Importer Security Filing (ISF or 10+2) enforcement.

The Importer Security Filing (ISF) system—also referred to as the “10+2” data elements—requires both importers and carriers to transmit certain information to CBP regarding inbound ocean cargo 24 hours prior to lading that cargo at foreign ports. These rules are intended to satisfy certain requirements under the Security Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 and the Trade Act of 2002, as amended by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

Under the ISF, the following 10 data elements are required from the importer:

  1. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  2. Seller (or owner) name and address
  3. Buyer (or owner) name and address
  4. Ship-to name and address
  5. Container stuffing location
  6. Consolidator (stuffer) name and address
  7. Importer of record number/foreign trade zone applicant identification number
  8. Consignee number(s)
  9. Country of origin
  10. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number

From the carrier, 2 data elements are required:

  1. Vessel stow plan
  2. Container status messages

Source: CBP.gov

ACE_image_csonLast week, the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (NCBFAA) hosted a conference in Baltimore, MD targeting software developers interested in obtaining more information about US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and upcoming technical changes related to the PGA Message Set, Entry Summary Edits, Automated Corrections/Cancellations and AES Re-Engineering/Manifest Baseline development. During the conference, CBP made two important announcements which were heard and noted first hand from an Integration Point representative. These two announcements included:

  • CBP announced that it plans to mandate the use of manifest and cargo release in ACE by December 31, 2015 and mandate the use of ACE by December 31, 2016. CBP also provided a tentative release schedule for seven deployments that will lead up to this mandate.  Each deployment will consist of one or two increments, and each increment will span over a period of twelve to thirteen weeks. On this road map, CBP announced some exciting functionalities to be released in the near future such as automated cancellation and/or correction of entries, integration of simplified entry with other modes of transport and certifying simplified entry through summary. In addition to the enhanced simplified entry process, CBP also gradually plans to include the validations that were not initially included in ACE entry summaries.
  • CBP is also working on the reengineering of AES and pilot programs of entry data collection for various Participating Government Agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and CBP plans to deploy this later on in 2013 and early in 2014.

Now there is relevance in all of this. It reinforces the growing importance of Customs’ focus on “cargo management”.  Far too much emphasis is placed on the goods declaration alone. This is not only short-sighted but demonstrates an ignorance of the global supply chain. Without the ‘cargo report’ (manifest) the goods declaration is little more than a testament of what is purported to have been imported and exported.

4209_image002January, 2013 saw the United States and the European Union implemented the mutual recognition arrangement for their respective supply chain security programmes. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) administers the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), which is now recognised as equivalent to the European Union’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme.

Should they elect to allow CBP to share certain information with the European Union, US importers authorised under C-TPAT will be considered secure and their exports will receive a lower-risk score by the customs administrations of EU member states. In practice, certification translates into time and money savings for parties dealing with trusted operators. In that sense, certified operators are successfully marketing their status as a distinguishing competitive advantage.

Both programmes are voluntary, security-based programmes aimed at improving supply chain security. As programme members, importers receive lower risk-assessment scores in customs administrations’ computer targeting software. Therefore, members are subject to fewer security-related inspections and controls. The mutual recognition arrangement between the United States and the European Union allows for members of one programme to receive reciprocal benefits when exporting to the other jurisdiction.

However, not all C-TPAT members qualify for full AEO benefits. Only Tiers 2 and 3 C-TPAT importers (considered as more secure) may receive a lower risk-assessment score, and consequently undergo fewer inspections when exporting to an EU member state. In addition, in order to receive these benefits, C-TPAT members must expressly elect for the United States to share certain information with the European Union and certify that their exports meet all applicable requirements.

The mutual recognition arrangement may also exempt members’ facilities from undergoing validation site visits by both administrations when initially being certified or during revalidation visits. This benefit is available for every tier of C-TPAT membership.

The mutual recognition arrangement applies only to C-TPAT importers which also act as exporters. A C-TPAT manufacturer will benefit from the arrangement only if it also acts as the US exporter. For example, if a US company owns a C-TPAT-certified manufacturer in Mexico that directly ships merchandise to the European Union, those shipments will not benefit from the arrangement.

CBP’s targeting system recognises AEO-certified entities by their manufacturer identification number. Certified manufacturers will receive benefits under the arrangement regardless of whether they are the EU exporter. A certified exporter which is not a manufacturer may obtain a manufacturer identification number to gain from the benefits of mutual recognition. As such, AEO-certified manufacturers and exporters may benefit under the arrangement, but only US exporters are eligible for benefits.

Although the United States and the European Union have recently announced the possibility of a US-EU free trade agreement, this arrangement is a trade facilitation measure that companies may elect to participate in immediately, regardless of the results of potential free trade agreement negotiations.

The United States also has mutual recognition arrangements for supply chain security with Canada, Japan, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan. Source:  Sidley Austin LLP, and The International Law Office

"Uncertain Times" - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said earlier this week that her department would be slashing 5,000 border-patrol agents when the cuts go through, which would ultimately slow some of the busiest crossings between Canada and the U.S.

“Uncertain Times” – U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said earlier this week that her department would be slashing 5,000 border-patrol agents when the cuts go through, which would ultimately slow some of the busiest crossings between Canada and the U.S.

Is this a process of auto-destabilisation in the USA? At least terrorists aren’t being blamed for this……will be interesting to see what instructions are fed to CBP (US Customs) Field Operations in foreign countries where the Megaports and CSI initiatives are in operation. Besides being grave times , I’d say these are interesting times…

Lloyds reports that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is warning of major delays for incoming containers and other cargo at seaports because of sequestration, but early reports suggest that business is operating normally on arterial waterfronts, at least for now.

In a letter to cargo and travel industry groups after automatic cuts to federal spending, known as sequester cuts or sequestration, went into effect at the weekend, CBP deputy commissioner David Aguilar said the agency faced “furloughs, reductions in overtime and a hiring freeze, [which] would equate to the loss of up to several thousand CBP officers at our ports of entry, in addition to significant cuts to our operating budgets and programmes”.

Describing the current phase as an “uncertain time”, Aguilar warned of major disruption for travellers and cargo.

For the latter, sequestration could result in “decreased service levels in our cargo operations, including increased and potentially escalating delays for container examinations of up to five days or more at major seaports, and significant daily back-ups at land border ports of entry”.

CBP also issued a set of “cargo priorities under sequestration”, which vowed that security would not be compromised, but said that “CBP has redirected resources toward only the most critical, core functions and discontinued or postponed certain important but less critical activities in an effort to reduce budget expenditures”.

The agency said it would hold weekly conference calls to update the industry about the situation.

Shippers and cargo interests agreed that five-day delays could cause major bottlenecks at container ports, and would cost shippers extra money during an already challenging economic time.

The only consolation would be that individual ports or shippers would not have to worry about rival ports siphoning business away, because every US port would be up against the same problem.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported normal operations and said in a statement that it continued to monitor the situation.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie appeared unimpressed with the threat attributed to sequestration.

“I do not think sequestration at one cent on the dollar is going to have grave effect, or anybody is going to notice it all that much, except for some federal employees who will be furloughed,” He told a press conference.

The sequester cuts $85 billion, or 2.4% of the annual federal budget of $3.6 trillion, to be spread over seven months to September 30.

Roughly half the sum involves defence, and there appears to be discretion in where precisely the cuts are administered.

Nevertheless, the shipping industry is taking the matter seriously. Other than cargo delays, the maritime sector is factoring in reduced maintenance dredging and a degradation of some US Coast Guard functions, including search and rescue, as possible effects of the sequester cuts. Source: LloydsList

A CBP vehicle patrols the border in Arizona in 2010. (Matt York/AP file photo)

A CBP vehicle patrols the border in Arizona in 2010. (Matt York/AP file photo)

Nearly 150 Customs and Border Protection officers were arrested or indicted for corruption over the last eight years, a new report has found. A majority of the officers were stationed along the Southwest border, the Government Accountability Office determined. An additional 2,170 were arrested for misconduct in the same time period. GAO cited CBP’s lack of review and oversight of its employees and monitoring processes as complicit in allowing corruption to fester within the agency. (Readers please bear in mind that CBP has over 50,000 members)

Incidents of corruption included fraud, harboring aliens, selling immigration documents and allowing loads of narcotics through a port or checkpoint. Of the 144 corruption incidents, 103 — more than 70 percent — were considered “mission-compromising.” CBP even reported some instances of “infiltrators” seeking and gaining employment at the agency for the sole purpose of engaging in mission-compromising activity. For example, an officer stationed in El Paso, Texas, was arrested in 2007 for conspiring to import 5,000 pounds of marijuana each month into the United States. Less than 1 percent of arrests for misconduct, however, were related to CBP’s mission.

GAO recommended CBP — part of the Homeland Security Department — better track which pre-employment screens assist in identifying unacceptable job applicants. CBP currently conducts background investigations and polygraph examinations for potential hires, but does not monitor which tactics are the most effective. GAO also suggested CBP assess the feasibility of expanding the polygraph program to include occasional tests for current employees. Additionally, the auditors said the agency should improve the quality assurance of its screenings and set a timetable to complete a comprehensive employee-integrity strategy. CBP concurred with all of GAO’s recommendations, saying while an overwhelming majority of its employees are honest and hardworking, there is little room for error. “Any act of employee corruption interferes with the agency’s mission to secure the nation’s borders against all threats and facilitate legitimate travel and trade,” Jim Crumpacker, DHS’ chief liaison to GAO, wrote in a letter to the auditors. Source: www.govexec.com

A U.S. Customs & Border Protection Mobile Radiation Portal Monitor (MRPM) drives down a row of containers checking them for radiation.The truck will drive down an entire row of containers, scan one side of them and then it will drive down and scan the other side of them.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s maritime mission is now back on-line with today’s processing of cargo vessels and containers. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the people of New York and New Jersey have faced great adversity, the men and women of CBP have been with them each step of the way,” said Robert E. Perez, CBP’s Lead Field Coordinator for CBP in FEMA Region II. “Today’s processing of cargo ships into the Port of New York/Newark marks the next step in CBP restoring its maritime operations here in the greater New York City area and returning to business as usual.”

CBP personnel are on site today processing 161 expected international flights with approximately 31,500 passengers at JFK and 92 expected international flights with approximately 14,500 passengers at Newark International Airport.

To facilitate the flow of goods into the New York area, CBP officers conducted cargo container inspections this morning at the Port of New York/Newark for the first time since Hurricane Sandy battered the New York/New Jersey area. CBP import and entry specialists were back to work as soon as their facility opened last week, processing merchandise to help facilitate the flow of much needed supplies and supporting the United States economy.

CBP worked very closely with the U. S. Coast Guard and the NY/NJ Port Authority to lift waterway restrictions and open marine terminals to cargo vessels. Officers were on site and ready to process shipments as soon as cargo was off loaded. CBP deployed officers to JFK and Newark Liberty International Airport from other parts of the country to assist with the processing of international passengers. Source: FEMA

Publication of the latest USCBP Border Patrol Strategic Plan reflects and builds on the transformation of the United States’ relationships with Mexico and Canada, particularly in the areas of border management and security. The joint Declaration of Principles for the 21st-century border represents an enhanced and strengthened commitment to fundamentally restructure the way we manage our shared border. The depth and breadth of cooperation that occurs now between the United States and Mexico was unthinkable even a few years ago. Similarly, the Beyond the Border declaration between Canada and the United States has an equally significant potential in what is already our historically extraordinary relationship with Canada. These developments have created unprecedented opportunities with both Mexico and Canada, in which DHS and CBP will play a defining role, to improve our security and economic competitiveness – and CBP will play a defining role in taking advantage of those opportunities. The Border Patrol in turn is key to advancing CBP’s security agendas with Mexico and Canada, working with its law enforcement counterparts in each country to identify and mitigate threats.

The U.S. Border Patrol is a premier law enforcement organization, recognized around the world for expertise, capabilities, and professionalism. CBP’s officers and agents are the frontline, the guardians of the Nation’s borders. We honor and are proud of them, and we thank them for everything that they do to protect America and the American people. Source: CBP.gov

So there you have it – for a real dose of commercialized Customs and what it can do for the good folks in America, and anywhere else in the world for that matter, check out the strategic plan by clicking here! You’ll be forgiven if you thought you were reading an edition of Jane’s Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis. Most customs and border management agencies around the world can only dream about such impressive kit! 

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union (EU) signed today a Mutual Recognition Decision between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate Director-General Heinz Zourek sign the Mutual Recognition Decision between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.

CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar and Director-General Heinz Zourek, European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) signed the decision, which recognizes compatibility between the EU and the U.S. cargo security programs.

“Today’s decision on the mutual recognition of the EU and U.S. trade partnership programmes is a win-win achievement: It will save time and money for trusted operators on both sides of the Atlantic while it will allow customs authorities to concentrate their resources on risky consignments and better facilitate legitimate trade,” said Director-General Zourek.

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognized that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. Source: US CBP

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CBP – An ode in modesty

February 10, 2012 — 1 Comment

There’s nothing like beating the breast and extolling the homeland’s unselfish generosity for the benefit of mankind, or am I being facetious? Today’s post on the US Customs and Border Protection‘s website titled “CBP Leads World Customs Organization on Natural Disaster Responsiveness” , is a case in point. The reader is left in no doubt as to who was responsible for recent developments that provide for a Customs role in natural disasters. I read with interest New Zealand Customs‘ role in the Christchurch earthquakes last year – very understated and with empathy for the survivors. The WCO consists over 177 affiliated customs administrations / border agencies each of whom make some form of contribution to it’s various committees and resulting accords or standards. So what if CBP made a major contribution, its a cheap shot to boast at the expense of others who might also have contributed, if not to the same extent. Read the article here!

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the European Union Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) have agreed to language for the U.S.-EU Mutual Recognition Decision today which will lead to its signing in the Spring of 2012. Once signed, the Mutual Recognition Decision will recognize the respective trade partnership programs of the U.S. and the EU—CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and the EU’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)—with reciprocal benefits.

In 2007, CBP and TAXUD initiated efforts to implement Mutual Recognition between C-TPAT and AEO. Mutual Recognition is an industry partnership program that creates a unified and sustainable security posture that can assist in securing and facilitating global cargo trade. Upon achieving mutual recognition with a foreign partner, one program may recognize the validation findings of the other program.

C-TPAT is a voluntary government-business initiative to build cooperative relationships that strengthen and improve overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognizes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the ultimate owners of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. CBP currently has mutual recognition with: New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea and Jordan. Source: USCBP

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