CBP Releases E-Commerce Strategy Paper

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released their E-Commerce Strategy document, “addressing the growing volume of imported small packages and the challenges and opportunities it presents for the U.S. economy and security.” E-commerce, and the “high-volume, low-value shipments” that result is an increasing challenge for CBP to manage, consequently creating inspection challenges for CBP and presenting wider health, safety, and economic security risks. The Strategy aimed to enhance CBP’s ability to protect health and safety whilst maintaining the country’s efficient, strong trade facilitation and trade enforcement posture.

CBP outlined four primary goals and corresponding objectives in the E-Commerce Strategy:

1. Enhance legal and regulatory authorities to better posture CBP and interagency partners to address emerging threats;

​CBP aims to achieve this goal by: reviewing existing legal and regulatory authorities, developing a plan to incentivize compliance from stakeholders, and partnering with domestic and international stakeholders.CBP aims to achieve this goal by: reviewing existing legal and regulatory authorities, developing a plan to incentivize compliance from stakeholders, and partnering with domestic and international stakeholders.

2. Enhance and adapt all affected CBP operations to respond to emerging supply chain dynamics created by the rapid growth of e-commerce;

Enabling risk-based enforcement, through data analytics and expanding the Advanced Electronic Data pilot to foreign postal operators, using technology and software to determine high risk e-commerce packages, and optimizing the CBP workforce, policies and procedures to adapt to the evolving e-commerce environment CBP aims to position itself for this second goal.

3. Drive private sector compliance through enforcement resources and incentives;

By strengthening e-commerce compliance through enforcement mechanisms, incentivizing compliance through e-commerce known shipper programs, and leveraging partner government agencies for enhance enforcement procedures for e-commerce shipments, CBP will drive private sector compliance.

4. Facilitate international trade standards for e-commerce to support economic prosperity;

CBP aims to facilitate international trade standards for e-commerce by leading standards and best practices development with interagency partners and the international customs community, exploring technology options to increase the exchange of e-commerce information, and educating the e-commerce community on cross-border trade rights and responsibilities.

CBP aims to measure its success on these four goals through internal, targeted performance measures by creating a baseline for data, setting key measurement targets and consistently reporting on its progress. By formalizing an e-commerce strategy, CBP is better positioned to tackle e-commerce challenges, protect the U.S. economy, deter trade and customs violations, strengthen the international mail enforcement, and deepen CBP’s partnership and engagement with the trade community.

​Interested in CBP and e-commerce? Look out for CT Strategies white paper on the rise of e-commerce and the issues it presents for CBP, and what CBP is currently doing to handle the increasing trade flows brought about by e-commerce.

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