On Dec. 4, the 12th Department of Homeland Security Commercial Operations Advisory Committee met for the last time. There are up to 20 industry members on COAC and each term is two years. Members can serve two consecutive terms.
By all accounts, this has been one of the most active COAC contingents in memory. The group has worked relentlessly the past two years, producing 43 total recommendations that CBP is implementing or still reviewing.
Among the policy changes proposed by this COAC and now coming to fruition are the Centers of Excellence and Expertise and a simplified entry process.
It also got CBP to launch a trade efficiency survey to gauge how the trade community thinks the agency is doing to reduce regulatory hassles. CBP officials have committed to do the survey on an annual basis. But this COAC has had a hand in everything going on at CBP, such as an export component for C-TPAT, changes to the broker oversight regulations, the Automated Commercial Environment, the White House’s global supply chain security strategy, enhanced trusted trader programs, new air cargo security measures and finding ways for other government agencies to coordinate customs release with CBP.
Tim Skud, deputy assistant secretary tax, trade and tariff policy at the Treasury Department, has participated in COAC meetings for more than 20 years.
“This has been the most productive COAC I’ve ever seen,” he exclaimed.
COAC was extremely professional in how it went about its business, presenting well-thought ideas and facts for CBP’s consideration. But, more importantly, it was able to enlist CBP’s cooperation to implement the ideas, Skud said.
Part of that success is due to “enlightened leadership” at CBP that sees the value of input from industry stakeholders, but it “also is the result of the hard work and practical approach that this COAC has taken to this public-private partnership,” he added.
Outgoing COAC members are:
- Robert DeCamp, director of regulatory affairs, Deringer Logistics Consulting Group.
- Colleen Clark, Roanoke Trade Services Inc.
- Michael Ford, vice president of regulatory compliance and quality, BDP International.
- Don Huber, global customs manager, General Electric.
- Karen Lobdell, director global solutions, Integration Point.
- Barbara Vatier, an air cargo expert previously with the Air Transport Association and now director of transportation and trade for government contractor Agilex.
- Jeffrey Whale, assistant general counsel for customs and international trade, Nike Inc.
Huber and Lobdell were the co-chairmen of the industry side of the advisory committee. — Eric Kulisch