WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 19, 2014 – President Obama today will sign an executive order aimed at streamlining the export and import process for U.S. businesses, the White House said.

Through a new International Trade Data System (ITDS), businesses will be able to electronically transmit, through a “single-window,” government-required data to import or export cargo. Currently, information must be submitted to dozens of government agencies, often on paper, a process that can take days. The new system will allow processing in minutes, the White House said.

“This Executive Order is especially important to small and medium companies that depend on global trade,” the White House said in a news release. “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.”

Though the development of the ITDS has been underway for some time, Obama’s order sets a December 2016 deadline for completion and requires relevant agencies to transition from paper-based to electronic data collection, according to the White House.

Additionally, a newly expanded 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 U.S., the White House said.

The executive order is one way in which Obama is making good on his State of the Union promise to make 2014 a year of action, by using his pen and his phone to take steps that expand opportunity for America’s middle class, the White House said. The president planned to sign the order today as he traveled on Air Force One to Mexico.


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