When you first arrive in the U.S., you’ll notice that one of the first things that greet you is the sight of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While they work with lots of partner government agencies (PGAs), the CBP has the important role of upholding national safety by making sure that nobody and nothing enters the United States illegally.
They oversee regulating international trade, collecting import duties and making sure that all U.S. regulations are followed in trade, customs, and immigration. Moreover, they also need to make sure terrorists and all weapons of terror are kept out of the U.S.
With such a critical role to play, there’s no wonder why the CBP is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The CBP currently helps enforce regulations for more than 30 partner government agencies (PGAs) in the U.S.. In this post, we review the most common Partner Government Agencies and go through an overview of their individual scopes.
Common Partner Government Agencies
The department of agriculture regulates all imports related to animal and plant health.
Their scope includes any type of animal products (both dead and alive (some food products are subject to both APHIS and FDA), planting products (seeds).
This particular department has a role in enhancing and protecting Americans’ health and well-being. They do this by providing health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.
The HHS is home to 11 operating divisions, including eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies.
One of which works directly with customs, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). They regulate anything that emits radiation, such as LED, LCDs, computers, periphery lasers (CD/DVD rom) and any medical devices such as contact lenses, sunglasses with UV protection and band-aids.
Moreover, another agency involved in customs under the HHS is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are, as their name suggests, in charge of governing the importation of animals to prevent the spread of disease. Animals including but not limited to: dogs, cats, African rodents, turtles, monkeys, and civets.
These are the people who safeguard and enhance the competitive strength of industries within the U.S. against unfair trade. They do this by enforcing U.S. anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty trade laws. They also ensure compliance with trade agreements that are negotiated in behalf of U.S industries.
Moreover, they administer programs in order to facilitate the importation of eligible scientific instruments and apparatus, promote watch and jewelry manufactured in the U.S. insular possessions, and monitor duty-free treatment of articles used for the physically handicapped.
In order to ensure public safety against crime and unlawful behavior, the U.S Department of Justice has, under its organization both the: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE) agency and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
These particular agencies regulate the entry of all alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives, and drugs. Moreover, the DEA is in charge of seizure and forfeiture of assets derived from, traceable to, or intended to be used for illicit drug trafficking. They also regulate tabletting machines (encapsulating machines).
The U.S. Department of Interior protects and manages the Nation’s natural resources, along with its cultural heritage. Their role is to provide scientific information about those resources.
Under the DOI is the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) which is in charge of restricting certain wildlife and wildlife products from entering the U.S. It is their responsibility to keep U.S. travelers informed to allow them to make smarter decisions when it comes to the souvenirs that they purchase.
Also under the DOI is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose role is to protect human health and the environment. They regulate motor vehicles that enter the U.S. and anything that puts off emissions. All Chemicals are also handled by the EPA.
The U.S. Department of Treasury is the agency that is responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States. One of their agencies include the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
There is still some confusion when it comes to the delineation of roles between the TTB and the ATFE. But, it is anticipated that in 2019 the ATF will transfer all of their alcohol and tobacco regulatory and enforcement roles to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the Department of the Treasury. This will allow the ATF to really focus on protecting the U.S. from violent criminals and criminal organizations.
With all these partner government agencies, sometimes having similar roles, it is important for you to identify which agency is related to your import. If you have any further clarifications, we are happy to help you sort it out.