Archive for the 'Ports' Category

CTAC: A Bull’s-Eye on Effective Import Strategy

Recently, I had the chance to visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center—CTAC. I met with both CPSC staff who work there and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol staff they work alongside. CTAC was established 4 years ago to coordinate information sharing among agencies responsible for the safety of imports. Through this effort, the CPSC and CBP have been able to leverage their knowledge about products and companies to better target potentially hazardous products and stop hazardous ones from reaching store shelves.

Sharing information and priorities among multiple federal agencies helps both consumers and the regulated community: the coordination makes our efforts more effective and efficient, meaning that we can police more imports with the same staff. At the same time, CTAC (and other developments being pursued by DHS and CBP) should enable importers to reduce the number of redundant forms they must complete and shorten the time that legitimate trade is slowed before entering the American market. Based on what I saw and heard, it is clear that both the CPSC and CBP have learned a lot from each other since CTAC started, and we stand to learn a lot more, especially as other federal agencies increase their engagement.

Ports Report

Last week I was in New York to talk with the United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel. We discussed importers’ responsibilities for testing and certification as well as the status of several ongoing regulatory proceedings of special interest to importers. The group was keenly interested in these issues as importers are especially impacted by many of our new regulations, and they are eager to “get it right.”

I also had the chance to meet with officials from both Customs and Border Protection and several ports. I was pleased but not at all surprised to hear their praise of the CPSC staff at the ports who are working tirelessly alongside Customs agents to stop dangerous products before they hit store shelves. The ongoing close cooperation that has developed between the CPSC and Customs since our Import Surveillance Division was established in 2008 is a real success story for both agencies. Port officials also gave the agency gold stars for cooperation. Kudos to all our staff, CBP, and the ports for their professionalism and dedication to making consumers safer.

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