CBP Seeking Expansion of EAPA Authority

CHICAGO — CBP would like additional authority under the Enforce and Protect Act to go after duty evasion efforts that don’t involve antidumping or countervailing duty orders, CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner for International Trade Brenda Smith said on July 23. Smith and EAC Todd Owen with the Office of Field Operations discussed enforcement efforts during a meeting with reporters at the CBP Trade Symposium. “Remedy evasion is the same as EAPA,” which “is the same as antidumping evasion, is the same as misclassification, undervaluation and transshipment,” Smith said.

Currently, EAPA is limited to apply only to AD/CV duty evasion, but “we think legislatively, one of the proposals we have made is expand the authority we have under EAPA,” she said. Smith noted that some of the deadlines required under EAPA might prove challenging to meet. Internal findings have to be turned around in 90 days and final findings need to be made available within 120 days, “and that’s tight,” Smith said.

Within EAPA, weeding out transshipment is often relatively easy based on foreign site visits, Smith said. “Once you show up and there’s no equipment or no employees, it’s pretty much a slam dunk,” she said. It’s more complicated when there is an actual factory but the amount being imported appears to “exceed what they have the capabilities to make,” Owen said. Once that shipment shows up at the port, “it becomes much more of a challenge” to figure out which parts were legitimately made and what was transshipped, he said.

While evasion through misdeclaration, undervaluation or transshipment has always been of concern, “with the magnitude of how many of these remedies have come out, there’s more potential for it,” Owen said. The Base Metals Center of Excellence and Expertise has been particularly focused on possible evasion “because of the dollars involved,” Smith said. She recently visited the CEE, which is based in Chicago, and saw some ongoing testing of analytics that has found some “very interesting” patterns, she said. That testing has produced “some success,” but “it’s not hit out of the park yet,” Smith said. The agency’s auditors are also very much engaged. The Centers have proven to be an invaluable piece of the agency’s evasion enforcement work, Owen said.

 

Source: International Trade, Tim Warren

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