U.S.-EU fully implement trusted trader reciprocity.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced that mutual recognition between its Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program and the European Union's Authorized Economic Operator program was fully implemented Jan. 31.
The arrangement is designed to give expedited security status to shippers that belong to one of the trusted shipper programs and have demonstrated to local authorities that they have effective security plans in place throughout their supply chains. Once CBP does a side-by-side comparison of other trusted trader programs and accepts another customs authority's practices as meeting its requirements it can accept security reviews of companies in those countries without having to do its own overseas checks. Shipments from exporters are then eligible for the same treatment in the receiving country as those of importers who have had their security systems pre-approved. Reciprocal treatment is cost-effective for shippers because it limits the need to apply to both C-TPAT and the EU's AEO program.
More than 10,500 companies voluntarily participate in C-TPAT. There are more than 5,000 companies in the comparable EU program.
CBP also has mutual recognition agreements with Canada, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, New Zealand, and recently signed one with Taiwan. It is also working to align C-TPAT with AEO programs in Mexico and Israel.
The United States and European Union signed an agreement last May, after several years trying to agree on compatible standards. The first phase, which went into effect in July, granted EU AEO members lower risk scores for their shipments arriving in the United States. Now, C-TPAT members are receiving lower risk scores for their shipments to Europe. The second phase took longer to implement because U.S. Customs previously didn't vet the supply chains of exporters, only those of importers. But late last year, the agency began a trial program with Japan Customs to validate U.S. exporters and share those results with its Japanese counterparts.
CBP puts forfeiture notices online.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the end of February will be able to publish seizure and forfeiture notices on the Internet, providing broader public notification than the current practice of advertising in local newspapers or printing the documents and posting them in the local customshouse.
The change is the result of a suggestion by CBP Paralegal Specialist Paul Behe who participated in a federal contest for efficiency ideas.
Internet postings for property such as counterfeit goods will be available for a longer period of time (30 days) compared to the minimum statutory requirement of 21 days. CBP retained the option to publish the notices in a print medium, such as a non-English community paper or a trade journal, when the agency determines that additional outreach is appropriate. CBP said it expects administrative and advertising savings while providing visibility to more parties who may have an interest in the seized property.
CBP will utilize the Department of Justice's forfeiture Website
. This Website contains a list of pending notices of civil and criminal forfeiture actions in various district courts and federal government agencies.
All notices will be posted online, but CBP said it will continue to physically post notices at local customs offices for property appraised at $5,000 or less.
CBP will also continue to provide direct written notice of seizure/forfeiture actions to all known parties of interest.
Most commentators supported the change, but the final rule on seizure notices published in the Federal Register
noted that the newspaper industry was against the move. One complaint is that people would not know to consult a federal Website and would miss out on potential auctions. Newspaper representatives filed comments arguing that Internet publication by itself does not provide adequate notice and should be employed only to supplement newspaper publication for maximum outreach. They claimed access to the Internet remains limited in some areas and that minorities, the poor and senior citizens often aren't Internet users. And they questioned whether CBP would have the resources to update, manage and secure notice information on the Justice Department Website.
CBP said the newspaper industry's concerns were not justified. CBP, for example, spent more than $1 million in 2010 for advertising notices of seizure and forfeiture in newspapers. Posting notices on the Justice Department forfeiture Website will cost CBP about $25,000 per year. - Eric Kulisch