The word on the street here in DC is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is making some changes to its proposed rule to require advance security filings for all imports that pass through maritime ports. Known as "10+2" — for the ten data elements that importers will be required to file with CBP for each container and two elements that the carriers will have to handle — the long-awaited final rule is expected to emerge before the Bush-Obama changeover. A major reason CBP has taken a closer look at the rule is the work the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has done to let everyone know of not only the immense costs associated with trying to comply with "10+2" but also of the security risks that might be promoted by such requirements. More specifically, the longer a container has to sit at a port before it can be loaded onto the ship — while companies try to get all of the data elements filed — the greater chance the shipment could be tampered with: A container at rest is a container at risk.
I was surprised this week to receive notice of an upcoming event in Brazil with a very similar title and sponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. The stated purpose is to brief Brazilian Customs officials on ways to modernize their customs infrastructure.
The U.S. still has plenty to do it that area too. See CBP's recently released Trade Strategy, which is intended to show that amidst its security, anti-narcotics, and enforcement duties, Customs has not forgotten its mandate to facilitate imports and exports.