True success in trade is only attainable by keeping ahead of the next advanced technological development down the road, according to Brenda B. Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  

Smith’s insider insights regarding CBP and global trade were conveyed during a well-received keynote presentation at the 2017 Integration Point Annual Conference.

“To be globally successfully in this industry, it is key to look ahead to the next big technology,” Smith said, “You’ve also got to be willing to partner with us. We want to hear from you—your ideas, patterns of experience, issues and solutions.” 

She revealed that CBP is looking at emerging technologies to facilitate their mission and ensure security, including innovative solutions such as mobile applications to aid land carriers heading to Customs for clearance, and other apps to speed electronic authorization with any CBP challenges that may occur.

Forced labor continues to be a high priority issue for Customs, importers and exporters globally, says Smith. The last U.S. regulations were updated in 1963. These prohibit the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured child labor. Such merchandise is subject to exclusion and/or seizure and may lead to a criminal investigation of the importer.  

“That’s been 54 years! It’s time for an update. We are talking to importers on how to regulate this, and we are working to test it in a soft-pilot program,” Smith said during her address. “I feel confident we will have revised proposed regulations in Fiscal Year 2018.” 

Smith also addressed questions about CBP’s work to complete the final deployment of core trade processing capabilities in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). The deployment rollout has faced a series of delays as importers and exporters are working towards mandatory use dates for transitioning to ACE. 

“I feel like ACE has been such a large part of my life!” Smith noted. “We have put it into overdrive and Core ACE--by Feb. 18 we should be done. We had to have a lot of culture support, and working with supply chains and compliance have all been involved to make this work.

“The sustainability of the Single Window is how we leverage that software to facilitate our government management of trade. That’s a true work in progress,” she said.

ACE is now the primary system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and the government determines admissibility. Through ACE as the Single Window, manual processes are streamlined and automated, paper is being eliminated and the trade community will be able to efficiently comply with U.S. laws and regulations.

Smith briefly touched on the rise of ecommerce and potential forthcoming regulations. “With ecommerce, we are also looking at those challenges—stay tuned for that,” she said. “The key is: what is the right information, at the right time, from the right source?”

About Brenda B. Smith

In her work with CBP, Smith oversees a diverse portfolio of trade enforcement, security, and facilitation to enable legitimate trade. Her work includes enforcing more than 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations and 14 trade agreements with 20 countries, directing seven Priority Trade Issues, overseeing national compliance audits and the management of trade data.

About Integration Point

For nearly 10 years, Integration Point annual conferences have helped customers gain insightful knowledge on current events and trends, and shared best practices with colleagues.

Integration Point offers a comprehensive suite of global trade management products encompassing all industries, geographies, and trade programs. By delivering visibility and localized knowledge for 200 countries and territories on a single, web-based platform, Integration Point enables companies to achieve global compliance while maximizing supply chain savings. Integration Point provides solutions for import/export management, product classification, free trade agreement qualification, export screening, drawback, foreign-trade zone operations, supply chain security, and post-entry validation.