President Barack Obama Wednesday issued an executive order setting a Dec. 31, 2016, deadline for more than 40 federal agencies to have their systems ready to regulate import and export transactions through a common, government-wide, data-transmission pipeline.
The International Trade Data System, which has been in development for more than a decade, is designed to streamline trade and reduce costs for shippers and the government by eliminating the electronic filing of redundant information to multiple agencies with inspection, revenue-collection and statistical functions related to trade.
“This Executive Order will be beneficial to improving our supply chain efficiency and moving goods and services that cross our borders,” UPS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Scott Davis said in a statement.
Obama signed the ITDS order
on Air Force I on his way to a summit with Canadian and Mexican leaders in Mexico to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski said Friday during a short briefing with reporters.
ITDS depends on the completion by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of its Automated Commercial Environment, the next-generation enterprise system for interacting with importers, exporters and their agents, and automating internal data analysis for inspection and enforcement purposes. CBP plans to complete the transition from its legacy system and require all transactions to be completed through ACE by Oct. 1, 2016.
As previously reported by American Shipper
in "ACE nears finish line?
," the ITDS executive order has been in the works since early last year.
"By leveraging resources like the International Trade Data System, we can modernize and simplify the way government interacts with businesses to further bolster our nation's economic competitiveness," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. Johnson was sworn in two months ago.
CBP and partner agencies are responsible for annually clearing more than 50 million containers and $3.8 trillion worth of goods across the border.
The executive order also institutionalizes a fledgling inter-agency body, the Border Interagency Executive Council, formed under CBP's leadership for coordinating risk assessment and inspection activities.
Two agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food Safety Inspection Service — will begin testing transmissions through ACE/ITDS this spring. More agencies and users will be brought on board in the spring of 2015, according to DHS.
“We see ITDS as being just as important as ACE because companies run into delays and incur costs primarily due to other government agencies, not Customs and Border Protection,” Marianne Rowden, president and CEO of the American Association of Exporters and Importers, said in a statement.
“The President has taken an enormously important step by ordering the completion of ITDS by the end of 2016,” Michael Mullen, executive director of the Express Association of America, said. “The Executive Order has set the date to achieve a goal long desired by the trade community: the creation of a single window for the submission of the data required by all the U.S. agencies with border clearance authorities.
“The completion of ITDS will lower transaction costs, improve U.S. global competitiveness, streamline our border operations, improve security and give the government a better capability to enforce our trade laws,” he added.