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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

FACT SHEET: President Obama to Sign Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses

In his State of the Union address, President Obama set an ambitious agenda to make 2014 a year of action: using his pen and his phone to take steps that expand opportunity for America’s middle class – including helping small American businesses compete in a global economy.  Today, aboard Air Force One, the President will sign a new Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses.

Specifically, the Executive Order cuts processing and approval times from days to minutes for small businesses that export American-made goods and services by completing the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016.  Today, businesses must submit information to dozens of government agencies, often on paper forms, sometimes waiting on process for days to move goods across the border.  The ITDS will allow businesses to electronically transmit, through a “single-window,” the data required by the U.S. Government to import or export cargo.  This new electronic system will speed up the shipment of American-made goods overseas, eliminate often duplicative and burdensome paperwork, and make our government more efficient. 

This Executive Order is especially important to small and medium companies that depend on global trade.  Once fully implemented, the ITDS will dramatically reduce the time and expense for businesses to move the more than 50 million containers and $3.8 trillion worth of goods that cross our borders each year.

Development of a “Single-Window”

The Executive Order mandates the completion of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016.  The ITDS creates capabilities that will allow businesses to transmit, through an electronic “single-window,” the data required by the U.S. Government to import or export cargo.

At present, businesses must submit data to multiple agencies through various channels, often in paper form.  The ITDS will save businesses time and money, and dramatically reduce the number of forms a business has to fill out to import or export.

The ITDS will allow more efficient government decision-making associated with goods arriving at the border, reducing the time for clearing goods from many days to, in some cases, seconds.  This will dramatically speed the flow of legitimate commerce across our borders.

Coordinated and automated messaging about these decisions will increase predictability for the private sector and allow them to plan supply chain movements with greater confidence and less cost.

Though the development of the ITDS has been underway for some time, the Order establishes a deadline for completion, requires relevant agencies to transition from paper-based to electronic data collection, and calls for enhanced transparency by requiring public posting of implementation plans and schedules.

Creation of More Efficient Business Processes through Partnership

The new Executive Order also charges the government to partner with non-government stakeholders to build more efficient business processes and improve border management policies.

A newly expanded group, the Border Interagency Executive Council (BIEC) will be responsible for improving coordination among the dozens of agencies with import and export requirements and with outside stakeholders.  The BIEC is charged with cutting red tape and reducing supply chain inefficiencies, while managing the risks presented by goods flowing in and out of the United States.

The ITDS Board of Directors will continue to oversee the development of the ITDS automated capabilities.