A top U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official said the agency is considering expanding its role to include verifying U.S. exporters’ security compliance, with any future program likely to be modeled after the agency’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. C-TPAT sets security standards for imports and verifies compliance with those standards.

“The idea is being noodled around now” at CBP’s headquarters in Washington, said Dan Baldwin, executive director for cargo and conveyance security in CBP’s Office of Field Operations, during a Nov. 3 presentation at the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT) 10th Annual Northeast Cargo Symposium in Foxborough, Mass.

The impetus for adding export security to CBP’s portfolio comes partly from the Obama Administration’s push to increase exports as a means of strengthening the U.S. economy. But much of the motivation traces back to exporters themselves.

Large exporters have been asking for a program that would verify their compliance with foreign governments’ cargo security programs, some of which are based on C-TPAT, Baldwin said. CBP plans to sign an agreement with the European Union regarding coordination between C-TPAT and the EU’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) security program by the end of this year, he said.

CBP already has some involvement with export security, notably on the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. The agency could play a bigger role than it currently does in enforcing limits on technology and licensed goods, Baldwin said.

“I think … the same process we use on the import side should be emulated on the export side,” he concluded. “I don’t think that’s going to be a heavy lift.”

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