By: Mark Rockwell

CBP industry expertise centers

With an eye towards centralizing the processing of imported automotive and aerospace goods, U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened an Automotive and Aerospace Center of Excellence and Expertise (CEE) in Detroit, MI on Sept. 5.

The center has begun centralized processing for all trusted partners in the automotive and aerospace industry, providing uniformity for importers within that industry, said CBP.

The Automotive and Aerospace Center joins CBP’s Pharmaceutical Center and Electronic Center already operating in New York and Los Angeles, respectively. Those centers opened in October, 2011. CBP said it expects to open the Petroleum, Natural Gas and Minerals Center in Houston, before the end of September.

CBP’s personnel at the center answer questions, provide information and develop trade facilitation strategies to address uniformity and compliance concerns. They also serve as a single point of processing for businesses enrolled in the agency’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) trusted shipper programs.

“The Center of Excellence and Expertise is an innovative approach to managing trade by both industry and accounts,” said Kevin McAleenan, assistant commissioner, Office of Field Operations. “Leveraging the right mix of CBP skill sets in the center brings together an environment that promotes industry expertise and collaboration.”

The centers, said CBP, provide “one-stop processing” to importers, lowering the trade’s cost of business, provide greater consistency and predictability and enhance the agency’s enforcement efforts. The centers are coordinated from strategic locations, but are manned by CBP personnel across the country, said the agency.

The centers, it said, represent its expanded focus on “Trade in the 21st Century,” transforming customs procedures to align with modern business. By having the centers focus on industry-specific issues, the agency said it is able to provide tailored support to unique trading environments.

“The opening of the Automotive and Aerospace Center is another important milestone on our path toward efficient trade facilitation in the 21st Century,” said Allen Gina, assistant commissioner, Office of International Trade. “By improving coordination between CBP and industry, we will see benefits that advance our nation’s economic competitiveness.”


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