© William Perry

US Customs and Border Protection has confirmed that it is cracking down on ecommerce to ensure all small packages are compliant with US law. Customs brokers are under particular focus. 

A statement released earlier by CBP acting commissioner Troy Miller noted that the agency was “taking action to ensure compliance and minimise the exploitation of the small package, or de minimis, environment.” 

He continued: “While the majority of brokers, carriers and supply chain businesses that participate in CBP’s Entry Type 86 Test are compliant with applicable laws, we are enhancing our enforcement efforts to ensure that all participants are held accountable when they are not.  

“To date, CBP has suspended multiple customs brokers from participating in the Entry Type 86 Test after determining that their entries posed an unacceptable compliance risk.” 

Seko Logistics is the only company so far publicly named for being suspended from Entry Type 86 activities, after it sent a letter to customers. Seko has not responded to requests for comment, but told customers it was “incredibly disappointed by this unfortunate decision”. 

It added that it had a 99.999% compliance rate, and claimed it had only been given a week to address any possible issues. “We intend to press for reinstatement as soon as possible.” 

The CBP’s statement clarified: “Any broker that has been suspended will be considered for reinstatement if it demonstrates to CBP that it has developed and implemented a remedial action plan.” 

With the strict inspection of shipments and documents now in place, in particular from freighter flights originating in mainland China, according to sources, congestion is said to be building at Customs warehouses such as at LAX. The crackdown has also led to a nervy air cargo market on both sides of the Pacific, with some flights and charters paused.  

Sources said the CBP had found multiple illegal shipments, which have now been seized. 

It said: “CBP’s evaluation and suspension of non-compliant Entry Type 86 Test participants is part of a multi-layered enforcement approach to prevent abuse of the de minimis process, protect the integrity of the supply chain, and ensure that businesses comply with applicable US legal requirements.  

“When businesses fail to comply with US law, it can have far-reaching effects on the integrity of our trade system and the people reliant on the goods that flow through our ports every day.  

“For example, bad actors are exploiting the de minimis environment to move materials used to produce synthetic drugs – like fentanyl and its analogues –and other contraband into the United States. CBP’s enforcement efforts to disrupt illicit activities begin beyond our borders, and we will continue to strengthen our ability to combat de minimis shipment exploitation in a multitude of ways.  

“CBP remains dedicated to protecting American consumers, industries, and the integrity of our trade system. We will work closely with all businesses and stakeholders to ensure such protection continues by continuing to take enforcement action against those who abuse the Entry Type 86 Test or otherwise abdicate their customs compliance responsibilities.” 

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