US turns to blockchain to authenticate NAFTA and CAFTA certificates of origin
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to start in September 'live fire testing' blockchain functionality to verify NAFTA and CAFTA certificates of origin
20 August 2018 - 19:06
CBP hopes that using blockchain for the NAFTA and CAFTA certificates of origin will allow the agency to apply the technology towards getting more accurate information about the subject goods from the country of export and towards verifying that suppliers in other countries are compliant along with their US importers, reported American Shipper.
'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,' CBP director Vincent Annunziato told reporters during CBP's 2018 Trade Symposium in Atlanta.
However, as the US government pushes ahead with exploring potential blockchain uses, it remains to be seen whether the technology will gain traction in terms of trade compliance with CBP's 47 partner government agencies 'that aren't just going to give up their sovereignty or their laws and their rules,' Mr Annunziato said.
CBP also is working with the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) on a proof-of-concept exercise exploring the use of blockchain in the intellectual property environment to identify IP licensees and licensors.
The agency is also considering whether an app might be built to help it look at trademarks. As an example, Mr Annunziato mentioned a purchase of a luxury brand bag and using the app to verify the authenticity of the bag and to further examine its physical properties.
According to Mr Annunziato, if blockchain takes off in the US customs world as expected, paper processes will eventually be scrapped.
'Why would we need to have that absolute signature if we know the government of Australia is sending me something and I can without a shadow of a doubt know that it's Australia or France or Switzerland,' he said. 'All I need is the data. I don't need the paper anymore. I just need somebody saying that it's authorised. That is a big, huge difference that I see coming down in the future.'
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