CBP is under constant Congressional scrutiny for their actions. The trade cannot forget that Customs doesn’t just do trade, they do border security, immigration and drug interdiction as well. They’re the “face of the border” as people like to say, whether for people or cargo. Commissioners, traditionally, also come from either a trade background or an enforcement background and under their stewardship the agency, chameleon-like, takes on the characteristics of whoever is occupying that top spot.
In testimony before Congress in late February, CBP told the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security that they are going to increase inspections in the pharma, electronics and apparel industries. Companies who participate in any of their trusted trading partner programs such as CTPAT, or the Importer Self Assessment Program or companies in their Centers of Expertise and Excellence, however, will be exempted from these higher rates of examination. They will use their Advanced Targeting System to identify high-risk shipments to protect from illegal imports without impacting the economic benefits of fair and legitimate trade.
The agency is also stepping up IPR enforcement to support economic competitiveness. Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, they can share samples of counterfeit goods with rights holders prior to seizure. They have requested an additional $10 million in their FY 2013 budget to help in this effort.