C-TPAT Portal 2.0 almost ready for prime time.
The next version of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism's online portal will be launched in the next 60 to 90 days, U.S. Customs said in a communique to the trade community.
The enhanced version of the C-TPAT Portal was originally introduced at the C-TPAT Supply Chain Security Conference in January.
The C-TPAT portal allows members to submit their application, update their security profile, view their validation scorecard, and receive sanitized intelligence information and other communications from CBP. It also enables business partners to verify the status of a company within C-TPAT.
Belt-tightening moves during the past 18 months have delayed the rollout of the updated C-TPAT portal.
CBP said it is developing a training plan to educate member companies in the voluntary program about the new functions and features of the new system.
Companies should make sure all C-TPAT email information is up-to-date so that key points of contact receive training announcements, the agency said.
Every C-TPAT user will need to change their current password on initial entry into the new system.
One benefit of the new portal is that members with multiple C-TPAT accounts connected to one e-mail address will no longer be required to log out and log back in to switch from one account to another, CBP said. Portal 2.0 will also have a new status verification system, but the ability to monitor the status of business partners and listed partners will transition to the new system automatically.
CBP targeting aids take down of drug dealers.
U.S. law enforcement agencies recently seized the largest amount of synthetic drugs ever and nearly $15 million in cash and assets with the help of Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center, which used analysis of shipment data to identify potential express shipments with smuggled drugs or precursor chemicals, CBP announced last week.
An investigation that began last December uncovered a massive flow of drug-related proceeds to the Middle East and elsewhere. Since February, officials have seized more than 1,000 kilograms of synthetic drugs at express consignment facilities as part of Project Synergy.
The enforcement action included the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other U.S. and international law enforcement organizations, including those in Canada, Australia, Panama, Barbados and New Zealand.
Synthetic drugs — commonly marketed as herbal incense, bath salts, jewelry cleaner, or plant food — pose significant public health risks. Drug producers constantly change the chemical composition of the drugs to give different effects, which are still relatively unknown to medical researchers. Authorities warn that the drugs are formulated by unregulated chemists and their effects can be highly unpredictable.
CBP chemists played a key role in identifying synthetic drugs designed to circumvent U.S. controlled substance classifications.
Raids on June 26 in 35 states netted more than 150 arrest warrants and nearly 375 search warrants. During the prior three days, CBP and DEA seized more than 550 kilograms of synthetic drugs from international shipments at facilities of express carriers such as UPS, FedEx and DHL.
Seized drug sampling at a Cincinnati express shipment facility
In January 2009, CBP’s Chicago field office intercepted the first known shipment of synthetic drugs into the United States. That shipment — more than 100 pounds of herbal incense containing a powerful, synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana — was seized at the express mail facility in Cincinnati.
“This is a significant seizure of synthetic drugs and is a terrific result for our respective law enforcement agencies,” Graham Fletcher, Australia’s acting ambassador to the United States, said in a CBP news release. “Australia remains committed to sharing intelligence with its U.S. partners to combat transnational crime across international borders. This is a win for our collective communities.”
TTIP talks get underway.
The first round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the United States and European Union kicked off Monday in Washington, with an opening plenary session emphasizing the importance of the negotiations and laying out plans for the round which will end on Friday.
Talks centered on investment, government procurement, cross-border services, textiles, rules of origin, energy and raw materials and legal issues. The chief negotiators from the United States and European Union also met.
On Tuesday, negotiator groups will discuss sanitary and phytosanitary measures, market access and industrial goods, government procurement, cross-border services, investment, and energy and raw materials. The negotiating groups on labor and environment also will hold a joint session. - Eric Kulisch