Accelerating Customs Enforcement Efforts Highlight Importance of Compliance

A number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s trade enforcement measures, including penalties, seizures, and cargo detentions, accelerated in the first half of fiscal year 2021. These trends highlight the need for importers to develop, implement, and monitor effective compliance programs.

According to statistics recently made available by CBP, the agency is on pace to exceed its FY 2020 numbers in a number of areas. For example, if current patterns hold, CBP would see increases of 18 percent in penalties issued and 12.3 percent in liquidated damages issued. Trade seizures would increase 50.2 percent and their value would climb 46.2 percent for intellectual property rights seizures and 100 percent for import safety seizures. The number of audits conducted has seen little change, but the amount of money collected as a result of audits could increase by nearly 200 percent.

Of particular note is that detentions of cargo related to withhold release orders, which identify goods suspected of being made with forced labor, are on pace to jump more than 300 percent and the value of such detentions is on track to increase nearly 900 percent.

To evaluate importer compliance and identify problems CBP frequently uses risk analysis and survey assessments. RASAs can subject importers to detailed scrutiny and require significant documentation as evidentiary support. If they reveal perceived compliance risks, RASAs may result in full-blown audits and enforcement actions may follow.


Source: Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.

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