Good morning. Commissioner, I am delighted to join you today in signing this historic information-sharing agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
We are honored to join forces with CBP, which this summer will be celebrating its 221st anniversary of its work in “securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws”, including the safety regulations of my agency the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Today’s signing ceremony builds upon an already strong partnership between CPSC and CBP by giving CPSC full access to the Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center.
CTAC is the first interagency facility exclusively dedicated to furthering the goal of health and safety at import. CTAC involves many government agencies working together with a common purpose - it is a prime example of how Americans want their government to function.
This cooperation between federal partners is making U.S. consumers safer. By identifying and stopping dangerous consumer products at our ports, we can reduce the flow of dangerous products into our homes. Today’s agreement provides the foundation upon which import safety enforcement must be built. Sharing of pertinent information will foster the cooperation and coordination necessary to allow us to target and stop suspect shipments earlier in the supply chain.
This strategy will not only hurt the bad guys, but it will help the good guys who comply with the law and want to sell and distribute safe products to consumers.
In addition to sharing information, our agencies are working together to streamline import procedures – from targeting to sampling to detention. Our cooperation will help us destroy or export mislabeled or uncertified products, and we can pursue the seizure, forfeiture and destruction of the most dangerous products.
In addition to permanently staffing employees at CTAC, CPSC has dedicated employees serving at 10 of the biggest ports of entry alongside CBP inspectors. Having our staff working side-by-side at the ports speeds the sharing of samples, reduces examination times, and improves interagency communication, leading to effective import enforcement. Finally, this information sharing agreement will form the basis for CPSC's risk management program. This is a program that will focus our energies on the products where the greatest risk of harm exists and establish standards upon which all future import programs can be modeled after.
Let me close by saying that one of my top priorities as Chairman of the CPSC has been to strengthen the product safety net throughout the supply chain. We are going to the source of manufacturing issues in China and calling for safety to be built into products on the front end. We are also conducting more inspections and surveillance programs to identify dangerous or defective products in the marketplace.
And with today’s announcement, we are strengthening our presence and effectiveness at the ports and our partnership with CBP toward those mutually shared goals. These actions will continue to give consumers greater confidence in the safety of the products they purchase.
Finally, I would like to give special recognition to Carol Cave, Jeremy Baskin and John Blachere from CPSC and Assistant Commissioner Dan Baldwin and the great team at CBP who helped put this agreement together. Thank you all for your commitment to consumer safety.