Evaluation on blockchain for US customs to be published soon

Origin Calculation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

US customs officials will be looking into how their tests of blockchain have fared, it has been revealed.

An evaluation on the efficacy of blockchain as part of the US customs process is to be published by the end of the year, according to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.

Members of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) met this month to discuss regulatory reform in trade, with emerging technology and blockchain forming a large part of the conversation.

The latest round of testing of blockchain technology for supply chain management has now been completed and the CBP said it wants to evaluate the success of the programme before 2018 draws to a close.

So far, blockchain technology has been used as a way of tracking import shipments and reducing the paperwork that is traditionally generated.

CBP officials hope to investigate whether blockchain could be a long-term solution to tracking shipments as part of the new trade agreement CAFTA and if it is "the right technology for these types of projects".

"If we find something that doesn't work, we don't invest anymore. If we find that it does work, then we move forward with confidence. This is new ground for us, so it's exciting," Vincent Annunziato from the agency said.

It was revealed back in August that the CBP was to start using 'live fire' testing of blockchain technology to streamline the importing process.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate paper-based processes for the entire US customs industry.

Blockchain is defined as "an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions, but virtually everything of value", according to Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of 2016's Blockchain Revolution.

It is similar to a spreadsheet that is duplicated across a network of computers, but is also designed to be regularly and independently updated.

For the US, blockchain has thus far been in place to check that imported goods really do originate from the country of export, as well as to ensure suppliers are compliant with customs and tax regulations.