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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is developing a commercial trade processing system — the Automated Commercial Environment — designed to facilitate legitimate cross-border trade while strengthening border security.The driving force behind ACE has been the Trade Support Network, a partnership with the trade community that was created in 1994 and includes American Trucking Associations. TSN’s mission is to provide industry input for the design, development and implementation of automated CBP systems, and its work on ACE has created a model for joint government and industry endeavors. ACE is one of the largest information-technology initiatives ever undertaken by the U.S. government and its effects will touch nearly every sector of the trade community, which includes trade associations, importers, exporters, brokers, carriers, sureties and many other organizations.With about 300 members representing nearly 200 companies, TSN works through a committee structure to identify legal, procedural, or systems issues and priorities specific to a certain business area, and to submit user requirement recommendations where appropriate. These issues include account management; entry, revenue and export processes; transition, legal and policy issues; and supply chain security.CBP relies on the trade community for important feedback on ACE’s usability and the most effective and efficient methods for deploying it. CBP has accepted more than 250 TSN recommendations for ACE and seeks to obtain even more.When CBP implements the mandatory electronic manifest (e-manifest) policy in 2007 and introduces a broad range of new entry summary, accounts and revenue features on the horizon for 2007 and 2008, partnerships like the TSN will become increasingly important.ACE’s capabilities will redefine many business processes for the better, and their successful implementation depends on active communication and collaboration between the trade community and CBP.Go to www.cbp.gov/modernization to learn more.Louis SamenfinkExecutive DirectorCargo Systems Program OfficeU.S. Customs and Border ProtectionWashington, D.C.This letter appears in the Jan. 15 print edition of Transport Topics. Subscribe today.
January 17, 2007 9:10 AM, EST