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CBP’s Trade Symposium shares key issues, statistics on trade

On July 23rd and 24th, Customs and Border Protection held their annual Trade Symposium in downtown Chicago. This is one of the two premier events that CBP puts on for the trade every year, the other being their CTPAT security conference. With 1,300 people in attendance, the two-day event was offered substantive discussions on key agency topics and offered us the chance to meet with CBP senior leadership from Washington as well as have one-on-one discussions with leadership from the CEE (Centers for Excellence and Expertise).

Pictured above (left to right), RIM’s delegation was Kim Roebke, Manager, Customer Service, International Services, LCB, CCS; Stacy Hallon, Director, Regulatory Compliance, LCB, CCS; and Nancy Carmona, Manager, International Solutions, LCB, CCS. (Photo credit to Stacy Hallon)

In addition to the sessions, the conference featured a speech from Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan as well as a lunchtime Q&A with former Commissioner, now Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Both men highlighted the importance of trade and the importance of the public / private sector partnership the agency has built over time.

In his opening remarks, Acting Commissioner Morgan highlighted the agency’s commitment to transparency, collaboration and communication. The agency in their most recent fiscal year processed $2.6 trillion in imports and 28 million containers – up 4.2% from the previous year. They also collected $52 billion in duties and just over $40 billion in fees alone, up 23% from the previous year. Much of that increase is due likely to the imposition of 232 and 301 antidumping duties on steel, aluminum and a large swath of Chinese exports.

The agency is also dealing with an exponential explosion in e-Commerce traffic. A few statistics they shared were:

  • 3 million packages arrive daily via the US Postal Service.
  • 40% of the e-Commerce packages arriving daily in the USA come through the port of Chicago.
  • In the same period of time 35,000,000 formal and informal entries were filed, there were 625,000,000 e-Commerce packages for release and delivery.
  • The agency is now receiving advanced shipping data on 50% of the arriving mail which helps their targeting appreciably.
  • The levels are enforcement are not where the agency wants or needs them to be to identify Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations and synthetic opioids arriving daily.

Without question, the focus of the agency will be how to better use data and technology to execute their mission. In a session on land border ports of entry, presenters highlighted how imaging and machine learning algorithms are being used to take pictures of trailers, trucks and drivers and when these frequently-appearing vehicles and drivers present themselves for entry, the technology will look for discrepancies – say an extra or moved screw on a gas tank – to highlight for CBP agents that something has changed or might be amiss.

At RIM, it is our responsibility to keep abreast of not only the changes, but the opportunities. Whether helping our clients manage exclusion requests from the trade remedies or helping ensure that new suppliers in different countries are not engaging in illegal transshipment activities, RIM are proactive partners in helping companies do business in the US and around the globe.