Agricultural, apparel, footwear, consumer products and electronics shippers will find the importing process easier in 2013 when Customs and Border Protection opens six Centers of Excellence and Expertise.
The centers are designed to bring uniformity to the agency’s handling of major product imports by providing private and public sector experts to shippers. The CEE centers — there will be 10 by the end of 2013 — are part of the agency’s broader effort to bring uniformity to more than 300 seaports, airports and border crossings through which imports enter the U.S. That uniformity translates to how each company is treated as a single account, each with their own agency manager.
“Centers of Excellence and Expertise are not only the centerpiece of our trade process transformation, they already are increasing our capacity,” Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar said at the agency’s East Coast Trade Symposium in November. “This expansion will empower Customs to more effectively partner with industry to facilitate international trade through U.S. ports of entry.”
A new center in Miami will provide agriculture and prepared products expertise; a San Francisco facility will have experts on apparel, footwear and textiles; and the center in Chicago will focus on base metal know-how. The Atlanta center will concentrate on consumer products and merchandising; the Buffalo, N.Y., facility will lend shippers expertise in industrial and manufacturing trade; and the Laredo, Texas, center will offer machinery expertise.
Customs already operates CEEs for electronics in Long Beach, Calif.; for pharmaceuticals, health care products and chemicals in New York; automotive and aerospace equipment in Detroit; and petroleum, natural gas and minerals in Houston.