CBP recently held a Trade Symposium in California, their first on the West Coast. At these symposia, Customs talks about issues of importance and future plans that will impact the trade. The term “trade” encompasses not only service providers such as ourselves, but our importers and exporters as well. The news that CBP made for our industry is that they will soon be publishing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) covering 19 CFR 111, the chapter of the regulations which govern the activities of Customs brokers. This chapter has long been rumored to be updated to deal with topics such as continuing education, licensing and testing of brokers. Our industry is watching it very closely.
They also announced two new Centers for Excellence and Expertise. One center focusing on automotive and aerospace will be located in Detroit, MI, and the other focusing on petroleum, natural gas and minerals will be in Houston, TX. They are planning six more centers by 2015. These centers will combine both physical and virtual staffing, taking advantage of the knowledge of local Customs officials who are parts of the import specialist teams that see a tremendous number of entries covering these industries. They will also have access to Customs staff from around the country and headquarters to supplement their activities.
Along with CBP’s deployment of ACE and changing of the whole concept of the physical location of where work is reviewed or processed, CBP must determine how to work with importers and brokers and how they will communicate the needs, inquiries and requests of these CEE’s which may not be located in the same port as an entry is being filed. How will information for an automotive entry being filed in Seattle be shared with Detroit? If there is a question from one, how do both know the communication is taking place?
For CBP, this is more than just staffing a space. It is creating orderly lines of communication with importers, other government agencies and the Customs brokers filing the entries.