E-commerce: the US CBP will formalize two programs

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeks to formalize the success of two pilot programs related to e-commerce, according to an article released by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Its goal is for the agency to monitor and protect against illegitimate trade, while providing the public with the benefits of duty-free shipping for qualifying imports.

E-commerce is a growing segment of the United States economy and accounted for 10.7% of total retail sales in 2019 and 14% in 2020.

In 2020 alone, e-commerce sales in the United States grew more than 40% and reached a value of $ 791.8 billion.

For customs, the growth of e-commerce presents many challenges.

Although shipments from this type of commerce pose the same health, public safety, and economic security risks as containerized shipments, CBP lacks complete visibility into the e-commerce supply chain due to the complex nature and industry dynamics.


Also, the overwhelming volume of small packages makes it difficult for CBP to identify and intercept high-risk packages.

Additionally, vague and inaccurate electronic data provided by certain business entities represents a significant challenge when CBP addresses shipments.

To address these challenges, CBP’s Electronic Commerce Branch has focused its efforts on improving business risk management by working closely with the business community.

Pilot programs

In 2019, CBP convened an Electronic Commerce Working Group (ETF) of industry participants covering all aspects of electronic commerce to more precisely identify the nature and origin of shipments of the Section 321.

Title 19 United States Code (USC) §1321 (a) (2) (C) allows CBP to admit qualified merchandise duty and duty free, provided the merchandise is imported by “one person in one day” and there is a total fair retail value in the shipping country of $ 800 or less.

Furthermore, Section 321 (a) (2) (C) of the Tariffs Act of 1930, as amended (Section 321), authorizes CBP to provide an administrative exemption to admit, duty and tax-free, shipments of merchandise (other than gifts in good faith) and certain personal and household items) imported by one person in one day with an aggregate fair retail value in the shipping country of not more than $ 800. This exemption is known as a de minimis entry.

In coordination with the ETF, CBP mapped the specific business models of e-commerce, identified the parties responsible for the sale and movement of goods, and established which parties had access to and could provide additional data with which to better assess the business. e-commerce risk.

This effort to receive advanced electronic data to identify risk shipments in a more effective and timely manner served as the basis for two test programs, namely the Section 321 Data Pilot and the Type 86 Entry Test, which the CBP launched in July and September 2019, respectively.

Now CBP is looking to formalize the success of these two pilot programs.


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