Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection unveiled the outline of an ambitious new initiative called “The 21st Century Customs Framework,” that the agency says “will seek to address and enhance numerous aspects of CBP’s trade mission to better position the agency to operate in the 21st-century trade environment.”
The last major overhaul of U.S. trade legislation reforms took place in 1993, a generation ago, with the Customs Modernization Act (aka “Mod Act”), which significantly beefed up CBP’s enforcement powers, created the National Automation Program, and introduced the concepts of “informed compliance” and “shared responsibility.”
Since then, CBP notes that “growth in e-commerce, rapid technological change, and the continued expansion of the global marketplace have significantly altered how trade is conducted.”
With these factors in mind, CBP believes that further enhancement of the agency’s platforms and processes through 21CFF “will enable the U.S. Government to address modern trade challenges, leverage emerging opportunities, and achieve transformational long-term change.”
“Foundational Pillars” Driving Change
Based on the inputs provided by importers, brokers, and other stakeholders during two public comment periods and a public meeting, CBP has developed five “foundational pillars” that serve as its guiding principals for all 21CCF modernization initiatives and activities.
Though still largely in the planning stages, CBP indicates that it is currently pursuing three key actions in connection with 21CCF’s objectives:
- Achieve end-to-end supply chain transparency— leverage data and technology to gain increased visibility throughout the supply chain, expediting entry processes and stamping out violative actions
- Drive data-centric decision making— improve data sharing capabilities to enable real-time, data-driven decisions by CBP and the trade community
- Diversify reasonable care standards— collect the right data, from the right parties, at the right time, improving data quality and eliminating single points of failure
CBP Invites Stakeholder Participation
Citing a need for the “innovative expertise, continued collaboration, and fearless advocacy” of industry stakeholders, CBP invites interested parties to share their comments, questions, or ideas about the agency’s approach to future modernization with the 21CCF team.