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HomeInformationNewsTrade Talks and Tech Tidbits from USCBP Trade Facilitation Summit 2024

Trade Talks and Tech Tidbits from USCBP Trade Facilitation Summit 2024

The US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) Trade Facilitation and Cargo Security Summit 2024 held in Philadelphia in late March brought together a comprehensive mix of private-sector and government executives from the international trade and transportation communities.

The USCBP shared critical updates from their efforts, explored areas of shared interest, and heard from the private sector about their priorities.

A wide range of topics were covered including combating the trafficking of illicit opioids, the use of AI and other technologies, strategies to tackle forced labor in global trade, initiatives for improving supply chain traceability and resiliency, green trade strategies, and priority trade amongst others.

Though the atmosphere was somber due to the early morning tragedy in Baltimore on the first day, the presence and input from the Baltimore leadership at the event brought some solace.

Their live updates underscored a strong commitment to respond to and manage such a tragic incident, highlighting the importance of preparedness and resilience in all circumstances.


In 2023, USCBP processed over $5 trillion in combined imports and exports and processed ~39 million entry summaries. Various initiatives are underway to facilitate legitimate trade, balance the goals of enforcing trade laws with fostering economic growth, and enable trade transparency.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act enables the USCBP to take stronger actions against trade violations while facilitating legitimate trade, offering a more level playing field for businesses that comply with U.S. laws.

The Green Trade Strategy is focused on promoting sustainable trade practices. It aims to incentivize companies that are adopting environmentally friendly operations that lead to cost savings and enhanced market reputation among increasingly eco-conscious consumers. It includes comprehensive research to identify meaningful incentives that minimize environmental harm and maximize the environmental benefits.

The focus on Technology and Innovation, and the transition away from paper-based processes, is imperative to support the increasing volumes of imports and exports and to uplift global trade. Modernization efforts in an automated commercial environment (ACE 2.0) is at the forefront serving as the Single Window through which the international trade community communicates with USCBP and over 47 Partner Government Agencies. Technology innovation is automating processes, reducing paperwork, speeding up cargo clearance, improving data accuracy and accessibility, and helping companies comply with U.S. laws and regulations more effectively.

The Global Business Identifier Pilot aims to improve supply chain transparency and efficiency by using a single business identifier to identify key value chain participants. USCBP announced a new partnership with the FDA to explore how identifiers can enable stronger coordination and harmonize decision-making across the US government and is expanding in scope to include additional commodities and countries of origin.

Investments in Ports that serve as the heart of the import and export operations have been highlighted repeatedly in recent announcements and in the initiatives being undertaken around the world’s port communities. In addition to investing in port infrastructure, automation, and operations, pilots are under way on non-intrusive inspection technology which allows officers to detect anomalies and identify contraband and illicit goods more quickly – in 8 minutes compared to physical inspections.

Targeted training resources for customs brokers will enhance understanding of regulatory requirements and compliance, ensuring smoother trade operations and reducing delays due to non-compliance.


The initiatives aim to offer significant benefits to shippers, exporters, and importers. Companies can collaborate with and prepare for future developments, influence future trade policies, and avail the benefits of being early adopters. The upcoming changes could save shippers billions through improved efficiencies and reduced delays.

There is enhanced transparency and tracking through digitization efforts that speed up the customs clearance process. This efficiency can lead to significant cost savings for shippers, exporters, and importers in both time and money. The availability of incentives for early adopters – such as expedited processing, and reduced tariffs – will also lead to better tracking and forecasting, direct cost savings, improved inventory management, and smoother operations.

The use of AI and other new technologies will enable continuous monitoring, speed up compliance checks, identify forced labor risks, and enhance supplier due diligence efforts, helping with exposure mitigation. Access to trade tariffs, trade agreements, and regulations in real-time during the submission preparation will help companies better identify and manage risks in their value chain.

Companies can enhance their brand image, marketability, and competitiveness by showcasing their commitment to faster smoother movement of their cargo, and ultimately the delivery of goods to their end customers.

These also open up new markets and opportunities for growth as streamlined processes make it easier for businesses of all sizes to participate in global trade. Furthermore, as global awareness and demand for sustainable products grow, companies that adopt green trade practices will find new opportunities in markets that prioritize environmental friendliness.


Companies can prepare for these update changes by combining internal efforts and external engagement. Develop the building blocks now, with a focus on technology awareness, proactive adaptation, and iterative learning.

Critique your organizational readiness. Availing of automation and integrations promises many benefits but navigating a sea of data requires prudent planning. Tackle this complexity with bite-sized actions. Enhance existing projects or introduce new endeavors to deepen your insight into your data landscape. Start by pinpointing isolated systems and mapping out data flow – straightforward measures that can be iteratively refined.

Cultivate a dynamic learning and adaptive environment within your organization and across your supply chain. Train them on evolving regulations, technologies, and processes that may impact your operational landscape. Recognize and connect with key partners in your supply chain and involve them in evaluating the new technologies and methodologies. Instill a repeatable scalable systems-based approach to cultivate resiliency and growth.

Collaborate on pilot programs with USCBP, your supply chain network, and your customers, and advocate for the industry’s needs. Stay ahead by engaging with industry forums and associations. Become an early adopter and a pacesetter. Such participation provides opportunities to shape the trajectory of trade processes and digitization through collective input.

By embracing these strategies, companies can not only comply with current regulations but also position themselves as leaders in the evolving landscape of global trade.

About the Author

Bhavna SethiBhavna Sethi is a GTM Executive and Digital Transformation Specialist who first encountered the complexities of global trade as CTO at Mela Artisans, a boutique omnichannel retail brand. It inspired her to apply her consulting and change management experience to advance digitalization in the shipping and logistics industry through her roles at IBM TradeLens and Wave.  


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