The Centers of Excellence and Expertise: A Brown Bag Update with Director Susan Thomas – Oct 17

  • The Centers of Excellence and Expertise: A Brown Bag Update with Director Susan Thomas
    October 17, 2017
    12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

The Centers of Excellence and Expertise (Centers) have transformed the way CBP approaches trade operations and works with the international trade community. Join the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) and the Customs Lawyers Association (CLA) for a Trade Talk with Susan Thomas, Director of CBP’s Trade Operations Division, to learn about the CEEs. In particular, Susan will discuss which CBP/Customs roles have been transitioned over to the CEEs, the effect this has had so far on the processing of Customs documentation, and the division of labor between CBP and CEEs in the future.
Attendees are invited to bring their own lunch.
Preregistration recommended due to limited space of 40 (capacity of venue)


Susan Thomas
Director of Trade Operations Division, Office of Field Operations, CBP

Ms. Susan Thomas serves as the Director, Trade Operations Division in the Office of Field Operations. In this position, Ms. Thomas has significantly progressed the Centers of Excellence and Expertise into operational entities, by permanently transitioning post-release trade functions and trade personnel. Ms. Thomas continues to further the trade mission by working with internal and external stakeholders to advance our enforcement and facilitative efforts. Ms. Thomas has developed guidance to ensure uniformity, consistency and predictability in the trade environment.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Thomas has been the Assistant Director-Trade Operations in the Baltimore Field Office since October 2014. In this capacity, she was responsible for all aspects of trade and agriculture operations in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Virginia. She led a results-oriented team that identified efficiencies to facilitate the movement of legitimate cargo and identified areas for increased enforcement activities.

In 2012, Ms. Thomas was selected as the Assistant Port Director, Trade Operations at the Port of Baltimore. In this position, her primary focus concentrated on CBP’s trade and agriculture mission – enforcing hundreds of laws and regulations that protect America’s economy and ecosystem as well as the health and safety of American public. The Port of Baltimore ranked number one in imports of automobiles and roll-on and roll-off (RO-RO) cargo. During her tenure, Ms. Thomas was also the Acting Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. Under her direction, Ms. Thomas ensured that legitimate cargo and passengers were facilitated through the port, while port personnel focus their efforts on high-risk cargo and travelers.

From 2007 – 2012, Ms. Thomas served as the Chief, Antidumping/Countervailing Duty & Revenue Operations Branch in the Office of Field Operations in Washington DC. She was responsible for managing Field Operations trade resources, collaborating with the Office of International Trade on trade policy matters and trade enforcement initiatives, evaluating impacts of trade related activities and monitoring the effectiveness and uniformity of trade operations in support the Agency’s trade mission.

From 2000 to 2007, Ms. Thomas was a Field Operation Specialist and an Import Specialist with the Textile/Apparel Policy and Programs Division, within the Office of International Trade. Ms. Thomas was responsible for developing policy and procedures to ensure compliance with laws and regulations related to the importation of textiles and wearing apparel. Ms. Thomas extensively worked with foreign Customs officials to develop strategies and processes to maximize compliance with Free Trade Agreements and Preferential Trade Legislation. She received a Commissioner’s Award with other CBP personnel for her work on the Textile Production Verification Teams.

Ms. Thomas started her career in 1995 with the U.S. Customs Service as an Import Specialist in the Port of Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Thomas was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor of arts from LaSalle University in Philadelphia with a degree in Mathematics. Upon graduation, she spent a few years in the computer programming and computer software help desk industries before joining U.S. Customs.


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