Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson joined President Barack Obama in Toluca, Mexico for the North American Leaders Summit where the President announced an Executive Order (EO) on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America's Businesses. The EO establishes a December 31, 2016 deadline for completion and government-wide use of the International Trade Data System (ITDS), an automated capability that will allow businesses to transmit, through an "electronic single-window," the data required by the U.S. Government for the importation and exportation of cargo.
"One of the top priorities for this Administration, and for the Department of Homeland Security, is to facilitate the lawful trade essential to our economy, while maintaining the highest standards of security," said Secretary Johnson. "By leveraging resources like the International Trade Data System, we can modernize and simplify the way government interacts with businesses to further bolster our Nation's economic competitiveness."
Each year, more than 50 million containers and $3.8 trillion worth of goods cross our borders. Once completed, this secure "single-window" system will further enhance U.S. economic competitiveness by reducing costs associated with moving goods in and out of the country. The "single window" will also save businesses and the government time and money by reducing administrative costs, standardizing reporting requirements, and streamlining processes.
The EO today also establishes a two-tiered governance structure responsible for cost-effective implementation of the single-window and the development of policy solutions to facilitate commerce, while managing the risks presented by goods which flow into and out of the United States. The current ITDS Board of Directors, chaired by the Department of the Treasury, will continue to oversee the development of the ITDS automated capabilities and a newly expanded Border Interagency Executive Council (BIEC), chaired by the Department of Homeland Security, will be responsible for improving coordination among the dozens of agencies with border responsibilities and between the U.S. Government and other stakeholders.
DHS, in close collaboration with other U.S. Government agencies, will employ a phased approach to meet the December 2016 deadline for the completion of the ITDS. The first phase of this effort will begin in spring 2014, with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Food Safety Inspection Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency testing early technical capabilities for imports at select locations and with pre-identified industry partners. The second phase will begin in spring 2015 and will include both imports and exports as well as an expanded range of capabilities and industry users. By December 31, 2016, the U.S. Government shall utilize the ITDS as the primary means of receiving data and other relevant documentation required for the release of imported cargo and clearance of cargo for export.