U.S. Border Officials to Use Blockchain to Certify Imports Certificates

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has plans to use the blockchain technology to verify North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) certificates

According to American Shipper, the new trial will see the agency begin “live fire testing” a blockchain platform to certify imported goods originate from the country of export and to verify suppliers are “compliant along with their U.S importers.”

CBP Division of Business Transformation and Innovation head Vincent Annunziato said the agency is running the pilot, ahead of a September launch in a bid to prepare for the future and to increase market adoption.

While speaking at CBP’s 2018 Trade Symposium in Atlanta, Annunziato said:

“Really what the government’s trying to do is twofold: One is to help blockchain along in a healthy manner for increasing market adoption, and the other thing is we’re trying to prepare ourselves in a proactive way to be ready for when private industry begins to really take off with this technology.”

The new system when launched will be available in a mobile app—replacing the currency paper-based process used for verification.

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Annunziato, also gave an update on the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC)—a specialized group created in November 2017 to advise the Secretaries of Treasury and Homeland Security on the agency’s commercial operations. According to Annunziato, the group is currently working on a “proof-of-concept exercise” that will leverage the blockchain to verify intellectual property between “IP licensees and licensors.”

“So if you have a rights holder that is granting licenses to Company A, and then did they also grant the right for Company A to license out? You can now follow generationally what’s going on. So in a way, the government’s got a view of that interaction with the company, and we see it as a worthwhile venture for the rights holders,” he added.

Other plans by the CBP includes building an app that leverages the blockchain to verify trademarks and IP examination purposes. The agency’s goal is to eliminate paper-based processes for U.S customs operations.

“Why would we need to have that absolute signature if we know the government of Australia is sending me something, and I can, without a shadow of a doubt, know that it’s Australia or France or Switzerland?” he concluded.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan also confirmed during the symposium that the agency is working with private sector partners and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate on “interoperability standard” for blockchain.


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Author: Jimmy Aki
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