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U.S. Customs and Border Protection to trial blockchain technology

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office

Mon, 20 Aug 2018, 06:56 am UTC

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is going to test blockchain potential in verifying North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) certificates, American Shipper reported.

CBP Business Transformation and Innovation Division Director Vincent Annunziato said last week that the agency will begin a “live fire testing” of blockchain technology to verify NAFTA and CAFTA certificates of origin in September.

With this trial, CBP hopes that it would be able to apply the technology towards getting more accurate information about imported goods as well as verifying foreign suppliers’ compliance towards their U.S. importers, he 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,” Annunziato said.

The agency is also considering developing a mobile app for the blockchain solution, which will help streamline the manual process for gathering information, he said.

Annunziato further said that CBP is working with the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) on a proof-of-concept which focuses on exploring the use of blockchain in the area of intellectual property to identify IP licensees and licensors.

In statements, , CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said that the agency is also working with private sector partners and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate on creating an “interoperability standard” for blockchain.

“We had to develop the ability to understand that data, reformat it in a consistent way, so our targeting system and our analysts could use it,” McAleenan said. “That’s the kind of interoperability challenges we’re going to face with blockchain. As industry tries to adopt blockchains more broadly, the ability to understand what they mean — and to apply in our decision-making — is going to require that interoperability standard.”

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