The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently signed agreements with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) to enhance information sharing among the agencies. The agreements, signed in September 2011, aim to improve targeting of imports for health and safety violations. EPA and PHSMA are now part of CBP’s Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC), a multi-agency center for targeting commercial shipments that pose potential threats to health and safety.
“Imports that do not meet the critical safeguards, established in our nation’s environmental laws, threaten public health and put companies that play by the rules at a disadvantage,” says Bob Perciasepe, deputy administrator of the EPA. “By partnering with other federal agencies we can better target inspections to identify illegal or non-compliant shipments, ensure health and safety standards are met, and level the playing field for companies that follow the law.” Dr. Magdy El-Sibaie, PHSMA associate administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety added, “We must continue to find innovative ways to work together and improve our abilities to protect communities. Participation in [CTAC] and working closely with other federal agencies adds a new and very important way to investigate hazardous materials shipments.”
CTAC is an excellent example of interagency cooperation, enabling agencies with import safety authority to streamline national operations and share their expertise, tools, and best practices. Allen Gina, assistant commissioner for CBP’s Office of International Trade states that CTAC helps the government better protect consumers “by working together [with other agencies] to determine which shipments are high-risk,” eliminate unnecessary examinations, and facilitate low-risk shipments. The addition of EPA and PHSMA brings the total number of agencies that are part of CTAC to seven.
To learn more about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Import Safety Center, please follow the links below.
Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation Sign Agreements to Join CBP Import Safety Center
Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center, U.S. Customs and Border Protection