Saturday, March 8, 2008

CPSC To Announce New Strategies at the Ports

Each year, hundreds of millions of toys, fireworks, cigarette lighters, clothes and other consumer products are imported into the United States. In an effort to address the increase of imports, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing new import strategies and a greater presence at the ports.

At a news conference today at the Port of Long Beach, CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord was joined by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Assistant Commissioner Daniel Baldwin and California Director of Consumer Affairs Carrie Lopez to formally announce the creation of the new Import Surveillance Division at the CPSC. This team, in coordination with the CBP, is tasked with inspecting, detecting and stopping hazardous products from entering into the United States.

"With new strategies and growing resources, I am confident that we can prevent the entry of unsafe products into our country, remove those that do find a way in and punish those who willfully disregard the safety of our consumers," said Acting Chairman Nord.

The Port of Long Beach in California is the first port that will have a permanent CPSC presence and additional staff will be assigned to other busy ports as the division is expanded. Carol Cave, formerly director of Field Operations, is the head of the new office.

In announcing the creation of the new division Acting Chairman Nord also announced that CBP is strengthening its cooperative relationship with CPSC; for those ports of entry where there are permanent CPSC staff assigned, the agency this year will have the ability to identify, stop, examine and either hold or release shipments coming into the United States.

The agency, she said, will test more samples and conduct more port-of-entry surveillance blitzes with assistance from CBP. CBP has already been assisting the agency in doing some product testing at its labs, and CPSC will continue to use this resource to leverage the agency's ability to identify product hazards and violations of the agency's standards.

Working with Customs, CPSC is utilizing the CBP's import tracking system known as ACE. ACE will expose CPSC to many potential problems sooner, and give the agency more time and information to respond before the dangerous product reaches U.S. shores.
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