In July, Anaheim, California was the site of the Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit held by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Previously, this had been two separate occasions: the CBP Trade Symposium and the CTPAT Conference. They’ve evolved into a combined three day whirlwind affair focusing on the newest policies and thinking coming out of CBP and Trade at the highest leadership levels and how the implementation of those policies will affect not only how business is conducted, but how we protect our products and our people.
In fact, one of the main takeaways from the summit was that it was people-focused. Both thinking about productivity and how protecting human assets on more than just a security level leads to innovation.
Executive Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Trade AnnMarie Highsmith spoke about new initiatives in that vein. The Office of Trade has just recently graduated a class of peer support volunteers and chaplains who are available resources to employees. “Creativity goes away if people are suffering from resiliency issues.” She went on to say that resiliency means responding to a bad day. Being able to recover as quickly and as well as possible. It also means preparing for the future. That’s what this new program is all about: offering an ecosystem of support and preparedness.
Another important topic was optimization and modernization. But it isn’t just technology, according to DAC Diana Sabatino of the Office of Field Operations, it’s also about “practice and the holistic approach to how they do business.”
CBP is looking at their processes and realizing things that seemed like a good idea when a lot of this framework was developed, these things are now keeping work from getting done, or adding steps when they could be streamlining. For example, new processes are being put into place for more on time and effective enforcement without having to open every container. More digitization, getting away from paper, and ultimately, seamless collaboration with the trade community by “not only keeping up with the Jones, but becoming the Jones.”
Ultimately, CBP wants to build the systems that bring the trade partners with them.
In building these systems and relationships, CBP was also focused on the topic of forced labor. Worker’s rights are a key focal point of the current administration. For example, they have funded two $4 million dollar projects to identify downstream products made from child labor. The project focused on cotton in Pakistan, the cobalt supply chain in Congo, and the cotton and textile supply chain in China.
CBP emphasized that it is importers’ responsibility to be aware of what’s happening in their goods’ supply chain. You can find out more here about current withhold release orders and CBP findings.
With new policies and processes, you need a trusted partner to help you navigate changing waters. At Argents, our skilled and knowledgeable team is ready to prepare you and guide your logistics strategy to integrate seamlessly with the ever-changing supply chain ecosystem. Reach out to an Argents’ representative today.