U.S. Customs and Border Protection participated in a panel discussion at the 23rd Annual Textile & Apparel Importer Trade & Transportation Conference on Nov. 8 at the South Side Seaport in New York City.

John Leonard, CBP director of textile/apparel policy and programs and Maria Luisa O’Connell, CBP senior advisor for trade, participated in a panel discussion concerning the future of customs partnerships. O’Connell opened the discussion by pointing out that CBP has been building relationships with other federal agencies to expedite the movement of cargo and containers, while nurturing relationships with the international trade and transportation community.

“I think we can all agree that there are some issues we can consider to be easily remedied; those that we can readily agree on and fix in a relatively short time." said O’Connell. "This is where the relationships we have built will help us change these smaller issues, help us find these quick fixes and help us fix it, so we can all move on to the bigger issues.”

Leonard followed up her comments with expressing the need for simplified entry and financial processes, that would expedite legitimate trade, provide for earlier release decisions, and streamline the submission of information and payments.

“As we continue to incorporate best practices for security, CBP is committed to working with the trade community to ensure benefits are increasingly meaningful and relevant,” said Leonard.

CBP will facilitate about $2 trillion in legitimate trade this year while enforcing U.S. trade laws that protect the economy, the health and the safety of the American people. The agency accomplishes this through close partnerships with the trade community, other government agencies and foreign governments.

The United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA) and the American Import Shippers Association (AISA) hold an annual conference featuring discussions on customs, supply-chain logistics, transportation, sourcing, and other key issues affecting the textile and the apparel importer community.