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.