OMB mandates use of import, export data system

Agencies have until Nov. 12 to develop a plan to start using the International Trade Data System to collect information to clear or license import and export cargo.

Clay Johnson, the Office of Management and Budget’s deputy director for management, sent a memo to heads of agencies requiring the use of the system by 2009.

“When fully utilized, ITDS will help us reduce redundant information collections, efficiently regulate the flow of commerce and effectively enforce international trade laws,” Johnson said in the memo.

The International Trade Data System (ITDS) is part of the Automated Commerce Environment, run by the Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection directorate, and several agencies already use it.

ITDS, according to its Web site, helps participating agencies produce and maintain standard data related to international trade and border regulatory and enforcement processes. Agencies eventually will submit this data to ACE.

“The goal of this data harmonization effort is to support the ITDS vision of a seamless automated approach to federal regulation at our borders,” the Web site states.

In 2006, according to ITDS, agencies filed more than 31.3 million customs entries for imported shipments. Approximately, 30 percent of those shipments involved regulation by government agencies other than CBP, the Web site states.

Agencies using ITDS will have real-time access to this information to meet their regulatory or statistical requirements, according to the Web site.

The SAFE Port Act of 2006, signed into law in October 2006, mandates that all agencies requiring documentation of cargo clearing or licensing to use ITDS. The Web site says more than 30 agencies already use it.

OMB said agencies must assign a senior executive to participate in an interagency team led by Treasury and DHS.

OMB’s decision to require agencies to use ITDS is a recommendation from a working group, which President Bush in a July executive order charged with reviewing and assessing current import safety procedures and methods, surveying authorities and practices of agencies and outlining steps to improve the safety of imports.

OMB will track agency progress through the President’s Management Agenda, Johnson said.

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