Behind the scenes the COAC is meeting by teleconference and exchanging e-mails, reports, papers, data and other information related to global trade and imports. The COAC also has the authority to charter subcommittees to examine and/or research certain issues related to international trade. Sometimes the COAC undertakes certain studies requested by CBP. The COAC is the trade community's voice with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and their parent DHS. The 14th term for COAC was just seated last month (see our April 29 article) and is now beginning their work.
The COAC was established in the late 1980's after Congressional Oversight determined that the legacy U.S. Customs Service had, in some cases, abused their authority relating to otherwise legitimate commercial importations. As a direct result of hearings that Trade Innovations Principal Michael Laden participated in the COAC was established. Mr. Laden also served the maximum two-term limit on COAC, serving on the 9th and 10th terms.
Prior to the tragic events of 9/11, the COAC was not quite as relevant as they are today. COAC took a lead role immediately following 9/11 and worked closely with the U.S. Customs Service and other government agencies to develop and implement programs like the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). COAC has also provided important advice on matters like audits, the Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) program and they are now reviewing electronic container security devices.
The COAC provides lots of important input to CBP, DHS and Treasury regarding how things are working "in the field" relating to commercial trade. So, the next time you see a COAC survey or request for participation on a subcommittee or working group please consider taking time to answer. Or better yet, consider seeking a COAC Appointment to the next term, CBP usually advises when the application process is open. The COAC is an important part of our industry and they provide critical information and advice to CBP.
For more information on COAC please visit the CBP COAC web page by following this link: CBP COAC Web Page