Category Archives: Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee

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US Border Agents to Trial Blockchain for Free Trade Compliance

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that it will begin blockchain testing to approve North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) certificates of origin.

With plans to launch in September, the blockchain platform will reportedly be used to verify the original source and information about products entering the US, as well as authenticating trademarks and checking items’ physical properties. CBP’s head of Business Transformation and Innovation Vincent Annunziato said that the system will be able to show how foreign suppliers treat American imports and discover any dishonest trade practices.

Replacing the standard authentification system would enable the CBP agency to replace the paper-based manual process currently used, and in its place institute a mobile application, streamlining the process. Annunziato described the government agency behind the platform as having a two-fold ambition: encouraging the development of blockchain technology to encourage market adoption and being prepared for private industry when the technology becomes adopted on mass.

He went on to praise the unique borderless nature of blockchain technology, particularly in the area of shipping but added of the 47 agencies involved in the CBP processes it is unlikely they would all comply with giving up sovereignty of their own laws and rules. Annunziato said: ”It’s a very interesting time right now, but I think it’s a good time for the government to be involved because we’re starting to really push forward and make sure things are honest and working the way they’re supposed to.”

Also relayed by Annunziato was an update to the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) advisory group working with the Secretaries of Treasury and Homeland Security to promote emerging technologies, particularly blockchain, in its commercial operations. He has confirmed that the committee is working to produce a proof-of-concept blockchain platform to authenticate intellectual property via licensees and licensers relationship confirmation.


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