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CBP finalizes implementation of Centers of Excellence and Expertise

Implementation of Centers of Excellence and Expertise

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released for publication in the Federal Register an interim final rule, announcing the end of a test period and the establishment of “Centers of Excellence and Expertise” that assume certain trade functions previously assigned to port directors.


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As explained in the interim final rule [PDF 412 KB], CBP in 2012 developed a test for incremental transition of the operational trade functions that traditionally reside with port directors to the “Centers of Excellence and Expertise.” The purpose of the test was to broaden the ability of the Centers of Excellence to make decisions by waiving certain identified regulations to the extent necessary to provide the directors of the Centers of Excellence with the authority to make the decisions normally reserved for the port directors.

CBP is ending the test period and with the interim final rule, is establishing the Centers of Excellence as a permanent organizational component of the agency and further is transitioning certain additional trade functions to the Centers of Excellence. Today’s interim final rule amends the CBP regulations to reflect the following organizational changes:

  • Defining the Centers of Excellence and their directors 
  • Amending the definition for port directors to distinguish their functions from those of the directors of the Centers of Excellence
  • Identifying the Center management offices
  • Explaining the process by which importers will be assigned to Centers of Excellence
  • Providing importers with an appeals process for its Center of Excellence assignment
  • Identifying the regulatory functions that will be transitioned from the port directors to the Center directors and those that will be jointly carried out by the port directors and the Center directors
  • Providing clarification in applicable regulations that payments and documents may continue to be submitted at the ports of entry or electronically.

Effective date

The interim final rule is effective on a date that is 30 days after December 20, 2016, when it will be published in the Federal Register.


For more information, contact a professional with KPMG’s Trade & Customs practice:

Douglas Zuvich | +1 (312) 665-1022 |

Andrew Siciliano | +1 (631) 425-6057 |

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