U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced the next meeting of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC).
When: May 22, 2012, 1 pm to 5 pm, EST
Where: Hyatt Regency Savannah Hotel, Savannah, Georgia
If you are interested in attending, you must register to attend either in-person or via webcast. Registration is open until May 18, 2012. What is COAC, what does the the committee do and why is COAC important?
COAC is a 20-member advisory committee that was established by Congress in 1987. Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, Pub. L. No. 100-203, Title IX, Subtitle F, § 9503(c), 101 Stat. 1330, 1330-381 (1987) (codified at 19 U.S.C. § 2071 note). See also 68 Fed. Reg. 28322, May 23, 2003. In fact, the first meeting was convened on December 16, 1988. COAC is jointly administered by the Departments of Treasury and Homeland Security.
The purpose in creating COAC was to serve as an advisory committee to the Secretaries of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the commercial operations of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and related DHS and Treasury functions. For example, COAC has considered and advised on the development of advance electronic cargo information requirements; streamlining Customs procedures, and other issues related to trade facilitation and cargo security; safety of imports and protection of intellectual property rights; management by account and the interaction of all government agencies in the border environment.
Although COAC advises the Secretaries of the Department of Treasury and DHS, COAC also provides advice and recommendations to the Commission of CBP and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax, Trade and Tariff Policy (Treasury). Although COAC is a 20-member advisory committee, there are also two government co-chairs, one from Treasury and one from DHS. These government co-chairs preside over the COAC meetings and are not members of the COAC…meaning, they do not vote on COAC actions to provide advice but, rather, they set the agenda, manage the deliberation proceedings, participate in the discussions, and ensure that COAC operates in accordance with the law.
Members of COAC must apply to participate and are appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of DHS. Generally, COAC members are drawn from the trade or transportation community who are affected by CBP commercial operations and related functions and generally represent the interests of either importers (and their agents) or those associated with the carriage of international freight. In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of DHS try to select members to avoid geographic, regional or political concentration.
COAC is an important advisory committee that allows the industry and the government to work as partners on critical issues that affect trade, security programs and the economy. In fact, last year, Allen Gina, the assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of International Trade stated, “You all have provided innovative ideas and helped CBP move forward on a number of issues critically important to American business–and the U.S. government.” Both the government and trade are interested in simplifying and streamlining import processes and reducing costs. Both of which are good for business and the economy.
If you are interested in attending the meeting in Savannah, don’t forget to register!