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CBP announces long-awaited e-commerce strategy

Final E-Commerce Strategic Plan_Page_01_0

On March 6th, 2018, CBP issued their long-awaited E-Commerce Strategy, as announced here.

For several years, CBP has seen a tremendous increase in e-commerce shipments, which CBP defines as high-volume, low-value shipments purchased via electronic means.  These shipments generally enter the U.S. as small package (mail/courier) shipments, and many of these imports fall under the de minimus value amount of $800, where no form of entry is required, known as a Section 321 declaration.  It’s interesting to note that most other nations are reducing the value allowed for these type of “non-entry” shipments, rather than increasing it (read more about the de minimus value increase in 2016 here).

With this growth in e-commerce related volume, CBP says, there is also an increased opportunity for illicit and dangerous products to cross our borders, placing Americans’ health and safety at risk and creating new risks that can compromise U.S. intellectual property rights.  CBP has recently conducted tests where they inspected a large percentage of small packages for a given period and port.  Through these tests, many infractions were discovered, including trademark violations, illicit drugs, and more, further prompting CBP to develop a strategy.

CBP’s resources have traditionally been dedicated to targeting ocean, truck, and air shipments for infractions, and so, did not build sophisticated process around small packages. Now, with this new strategy, CBP will be enhancing their legal authority to address small packages, develop risk-based ways of identifying potential illegal shipments, drive importer compliance, and assist in developing international standards for small packages.

The overall Goals and Objectives of the strategy are:

  • Enhance legal and regulatory authorities to better posture CBP and interagency partners to address emerging threats.
  • Enhance and adapt all affected CBP operations to respond to emerging supply chain dynamics created by the rapid growth of e-commerce.
  • Drive private sector compliance through enforcement resources and incentives.
  • Facilitate international trade standards for e-commerce to support economic prosperity.

Read the complete E-Commerce Strategy plan here.

We, at CustomsNow, are looking forward to the day when importers of small packages or their brokers can electronically file their Section 321 entries through ABI / ACE.  Providing this information to the authorities, in an electronic format, is key to developing and enforcing a risk-based strategy.

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