Coming Reforms to CBP Regulations

A few weeks back, the Commercial Customs Operations
Advisory Committee (COAC), met in Washington DC. COAC is a 20-person committee that was established by Congress, and it “provides advice and recommendations to CBP and the Department of the Treasury on the commercial operations of CBP and trade-related interdepartmental functions.”

The press release for the event gives us some insight into the ongoing work to reduce and simplify the regulations used by U.S. Customs & Border Protection. The end-result could be 35% reduction to the text of the regulations:

Updating the regulations was a collaborative effort. “We had subject matter experts go section by section through the regulations and identify the pain points, the problems, the language, whatever the difficulty was,” said James Swanson, director of cargo, security and control in CBP’s Office of Field Operations. “This was a big effort. But it was important to industry and quite frankly, it was important to me. It makes it easier to enforce and easier to identify what the regulations are. We expect to reduce the overall size and text of the regulations by about 35 percent,” he said.

They also issued a regulatory reform issue paper, that goes into a little more detail on non-public regulation reforms:

  • Revenue modernization
  • Modernizing the vessel arrival process to be automated and streamlined
  • Updating the regulations to account for eBond functionality in ACE
  • Free Trade Zone modernization (also a COAC working group)
  • Advance Electronic Data for international mail
  • Export manifest modernization
  • Changes to the in-bond process (also a COAC working group)
  • Bonded warehouse modernization
  • Liquidation process modernization
  • Updating regulations for ACE functionality

ACE is among the most exciting things to happen with CBP for a customs practitioner in a long time; it streamlines (i.e., makes paperless) the protest filing process. That, coupled with the online publication of the bulletin notices of liquidation, makes life much easier and much more efficient for us customs lawyers.

Updating the regulations for ACE functionality and liquidation modernization should prove to be the most enticing changes to the regulations for practitioners.

CBP Webinar for Advisory Committee on Commercial Ops on Oct 7th

The CBP Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations has a meeting on October 7th, 2014, which is free for the public and may be attended via webinar (if you can get the links to work – we cannot). This was announced in the Federal Register. The topics include a variety of presentations with review and discussion pertaining to aspects of  which should be of interest to the importing public, such as:

  1. Review of 2014 Trade Efficiency SurveyCBP COAC Webinar
  2. Sub-workgroups on exports and export licensing
  3. 1USG – or the “One U.S. Government at the Border” efforts, including findings and recommendations by the FDA
  4. Voluntary prior disclosure of IPR infringment violations, AD/CVD and eBond discussions
  5. C-TPAT Export and Trusted Trader Programs
  6. ACE and role of Customs Brokers
  7. Beyond the Border activities with Canada and 21st Century activities with Mexico

Most interesting for me will be #4 and the voluntary prior disclosure of IPR violations, which has been discussed before (agenda here). I hope to hear some concrete proposals on who, what, when and why. You can bet that if customs creates a regulatory system for voluntary prior disclosure of intellectual property rights infringement, importers will be encouraged to undertake a review of their past practices because customs will, with little doubt, dramatically increase enforcement to give the program a kick-start.

Registration can be done as follows (excepted from the Federal Register):

For members of the public who plan to participate via webinar, please register online at https://apps.cbp.gov/tereg/index.asp?w=29 by 5:00 p.m. EST on October 3, 2014. Feel free to share this information with other interested members of your organization or association. Members of the public who are pre-registered and later require cancellation, please do so in advance of the meeting by accessing one (1) of the following links: https://apps.cbp.gov/tereg/cancel.asp?w=28 to cancel an in person registration, or https://apps.cbp.gov/tereg/cancel.asp?w=29 to cancel a webinar registration.

For members of the public who plan to attend the meeting in person, please register either online at https://apps.cbp.gov/tereg/index.asp?w=28; by email to tradeevents@dhs.gov; or by fax to 202-325- 4290 by 5:00 p.m. EST on October 1, 2014. You must register prior to the meeting in order to attend the meeting in person. Please refer to the ADDRESSES section below for more details.

As I said, the links have never worked for me, but if you need help registering here is the contact person:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Wanda Tate, Office of Trade Relations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Room 3.5A, Washington, DC 20229; telephone 202-344-1440; facsimile 202-325-4290.

Hope to see you at the webinar!