Progress on CBP’s Trade Intelligence initiative

In US Customs’ publication, “Trade Transformation Accomplishments 2012,” CBP discusses its Trade Intelligence initiative (p. 4) which “places individuals from the private sector, representing specific industries, to work with CBP staff to identify issues of mutual interest and to provide CBP with targeting, enforcement, and intelligence information.”

Customs has implemented Trade Intelligence at two of its Centers of Excellence & Expertise (CEEs) thus far and has had some success:

  • At the Pharmaceutical CEE (NY), both industry and Customs teamed to publish pocket-sized counterfeit detection guides for CBP field officers
  • At the Electronics CEE (LA), trade and CBP collaboration has led to “large-scale seizures, revenue recovers, and criminal prosecution.”

Curiously, the referenced article makes no mention of Customs’ trade intelligence gathering unit, the Private Sector Intelligence Liaison Office (PSILO), although it is presumed that PSILO is the lead unit here.  According to the Customs’ January 2013 publication, “Trade Transformation:  CBP Initiatives for the 21st  Century“ (p. 15), the agency this year will “deploy PSILO in Auto and Petroleum CEEs and [i]mplement CBP/ICE Commercial Fraud Working Group recommendations to enhance joint enforcement of trade violations.”

CBP stepping up trade intelligence gathering

US Customs has just announced the formation of a trade intelligence gathering unit, the Private Sector Intelligence Liaison Office (PSILO).  According to CBP,

[t]his dedicates industry personnel to strategic CBP locations, identifying issues of  mutual interest.  Together, the PSILO and CBP work to manage issues in need of resolution via CBP’s targeting, enforcement, or intelligence efforts.

PSILO representatives, selected from the security, customs compliance and sourcing departments of importers, will help provide intelligence to Customs on issues such as intellectual property rights, ADD/CVD, trade preference areas and more.   Apparently, Customs will be recruiting “trusted partners” from the trade.

CBP’s announcement, which contains some additional information, can be found here.  As of this posting, a Google search as well as a search of the website did not reveal any additional information on PSILO.  It is not clear, for example whether PSILO will address importer identity theft, a matter of great concern to the trade.