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CBP taps nine firms for e-commerce data pilot

Companies from Amazon to Zulily agree to help Customs and Border Protection figure out how to identify and target high-risk shipments.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has named nine entities to initiate industry participation in the agency’s voluntary e-commerce data pilot.

The agency said the first e-commerce supply chain firms to participate in the pilot are Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), Zulily (NASDAQ: ZU), FedEx (NYSE: FDX), DHL (OTCMKTS: DPSGY) and UPS (NYSE: UPS), while technology firm PreClear and logistics services providers XB Fulfillment and BoxC Logistics are also on board.

CBP first announced the Section 321 Data Pilot in July to determine the “feasibility” of obtaining certain data from e-commerce importers and service providers and how to more effectively use it to identify and target high-risk shipments, such as narcotics, health and safety violations and other criminal activity.

“The unprecedented growth in volume of these low-value shipments requires creative solutions to interdict illicit and dangerous products to enter the United States,” the agency said in a statement.

Section 321 of the 2016 Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) raised the de minimis for package shipments to $800 from $200, causing an immediate uptick in e-commerce imports into the U.S. and challenging the agency’s ability to effectively stop illicit shipments.

CBP estimates that 1.8 million e-commerce shipments that are valued at under the $800 de minimis arrive in the U.S. each day by air, ocean, truck, rail or international mail and the expectation is for this volume to grow.

While developing the data pilot, CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said the agency has “worked closely with the trade community to identify appropriate information that will advance the trade enforcement mission of CBP and our partner government agencies while preserving the facilitation of low-value shipments which American consumers rely upon.”

The nine pilot participants will be required to transmit certain required data elements about the shipments to CBP. The agency said it has given the participants “flexibility to transmit optional data elements as they are able to test the viability of sharing additional information.”

CBP said the information from the pilot will allow it to “ascertain data which are key indicators of compliance with U.S. trade laws and consumer safety.”

The agency plans to open enrollment of the Section 321 Data Pilot beyond the first nine participants to all interested and qualified parties early this year. The pilot is currently scheduled to run through August 2021.

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Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.

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