Toy Import Workshop Aims to Improve Surveillance Process at U.S. Ports

June 2, 2014 | On May 28th, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hosted a “Toy Import Workshop” attended by several Toy Industry Association (TIA) staff and member representatives. The purpose of the meeting was to engage trade experts from both the public and private sectors in a discussion aimed at improving the inspection and targeting of potentially violative toys at U.S. ports of entry and expedite the admittance of compliant products.

Webinar: Beyond the Ports


TIA is hosting a June 26th webinar to provide toy industry stakeholders with a behind-the-scenes view of current and upcoming CBP and CPSC enforcement and trade facilitation activities. The session will also provide insights on how to mitigate issues and streamline the importation of toy and youth entertainment products during the peak shipping months leading up to holiday 2014.

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CBP staff Lynn Brennan, assistant port director, and Ed Ryan, chief of import safety and international trade specialist at CBP’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center, kicked off the session by providing an overview of CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise. Next, they reviewed the agency’s efforts to increase uniformity across ports of entry, facilitate the timely resolution of trade compliance issues nationwide and strengthen knowledge on key industry practices.

“We had a robust dialogue that will be very helpful in guiding future trade enforcement and facilitation,” said Alan Kaufman, TIA senior vice president of technical affairs.

Kaufman and Rebecca Mond, TIA director of federal government affairs, spoke at the meeting, presenting key issues that toy companies have encountered at the ports – including delays, high inspection costs and lack of communication from the CPSC and CBP on the status of inspections.

Throughout the meeting, toy company reps and government personnel engaged in a lively discussion of joint CPSC/CBP cooperative efforts to stop potentially dangerous products from entering the country through the use of federal agency risk mitigation processes. It was also explained that the government primarily targets imports by “flagging” manufacturers that have had previous product safety or counterfeiting violations.

On behalf of the industry, Kaufman and Mond outlined suggestions on how CBP could improve upon its processes to help reduce trade transaction costs at the border.

“Given the time-sensitivity of the toy supply chain, it is important that we continue to work with CBP and CPSC to develop ways in which industry and government can further cooperate to drive enforcement and facilitate legitimate trade,” Kaufman said.  “We all have a shared goal of ensuring that all toys on store shelves are safe.”

TIA will continue to work with CBP and CPSC to develop systematic approaches to the import surveillance process and improve communications between importers and inspectors in order to alleviate unnecessary delays. 

TIA also works with members on a case-by-case basis when shipments are targeted and delayed for inspection reasons. Members may contact TIA’s Rebecca Mond, director of federal government affairs, for assistance.