CBP says new small shipments ruling will aid fight against fakes

US customs has amended the duty free rules for low-value shipments in move that it says will shore up its ability to identify counterfeit goods.

The changes cover the so-called Section 321 provisions, which allows Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to admit foods without duty, providing they are imported into the US by “ one person on one day” and have a value of $800 or less.

The changes extend the “one person, one day" duty exemptions to include fulfilment centres and warehouses, provided they provide shipper data to CBP.

Small shipments were already on CBP’s radar as an increasingly important channel for the entry of counterfeit goods into the US.

Back in 2018, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that two-thirds of fake goods intercepted by customs around the world are discovered in small parcels sent through postal or courier services.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has boosted levels of online purchasing, according to the US Department of Commerce, which says e-commerce sales in the first quarter of 2020 were up almost 15 per cent on the same period of 2019.

CBP has been running a pilot of a voluntary scheme to try to improve the security of low-value shipments entering, aimed at improving data-sharing between online marketplaces, carriers, technology firms and logistics providers.

Participants have been sharing cargo origin, content, tracking, recipient and other information to CBP upfront for low-value shipments, to see if it can be used to screen for illicit shipments.

“Foreign seller information is critical to CBP’s efforts to identify and interdict shipments of counterfeit and unapproved goods that undercut the competitiveness of US businesses and that can harm consumers,” says CBP of the new administrative ruling.

It goes on: “For example, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBP has used foreign seller information and other data to seize more than 10 million counterfeit masks, more than 120,000 unapproved COVID-19 test kits, and thousands of other goods that threaten the health and safety of Americans.”

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