Customs and Border Protection this week began testing digital imaging software in the International Trade Data System to deliver documents to agencies that participate in the ITDS program.
It is the first of a list of top-priority deliverables that agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission said they wanted incorporated into the ITDS system, which is under development as part of the Automated Commercial Environment.
Although the agency made no formal announcement, Customs officials said it was a “big step forward” for ACE.
By The Numbers: U.S. Trade.
Digital imaging will allow Customs to electronically transmit documents that were previously handled in paper form. It will speed up and streamline monitoring activity for the agencies charged with such responsibilities as enforcement of product and food safety regulations.
Cynthia J. Allen, ACE executive director, said that in its early stages the digital documents will only be available to government agencies, but the system eventually be open to the trade community. She said that the Environmental Protection Agency had signed up to participate in the test, and will be followed shortly by four other agencies.
Word of the imaging test came at an interagency import safety conference hosted by FDA, CPSC and Customs. During the conference, the heads of 11 agencies signed an agreement to create an interagency forum to promote cooperation on import safety issues.
The agreement also is a commitment by the agencies to share information, help the private sector with compliance, develop systems to exchange information, provide strong and consistent enforcement measures, and develop risk-management strategies to streamline lawful trade.
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