US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has opened a specialist unit in San Francisco to oversee imports of apparel, footwear and textiles (AFT). The new centre - which joins three other units covering pharmaceuticals, electronics and petroleum, natural gas and mineral products - is aimed at encouraging collaboration between CBP and industry.
The AFT hub will oversee the CBP's interactions with more than 67,000 importers of clothing, shoes, and raw materials and will be instrumental in "reducing transactional costs, increasing consistency and predictability, and enhancing our ability to identify high-risk commercial importations," said CBP. The expansion of the AFT hub - and the selection of Eric Batt as its director – is a significant step forward for this important industry and for CBP, commented CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.
The centres are intended to more effectively focus resources on high-risk shipments and importers that may pose a danger to US border security, harm the health and safety of consumers, or violate US trade laws and intellectual property rights (IPR) that undermine competitiveness.
Six additional Centres are scheduled to be fully operational by mid-summer 2016, covering machinery, consumer products, agricultural goods, automotive/ aerospace, base metals, industrial and manufacturing materials and consumer products.