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E-Commerce Data Pilot Gets First Participants, Anticipates More

Friday, January 10, 2020
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has selected the first nine participants for its Section 321 data pilot, which is testing the transmission of additional data elements for Section 321 goods in advance of their arrival. Initial participants include Amazon, eBay, Zulily, FedEx, DHL, UPS, technology firm PreClear, and logistics providers XB Fulfillment and BoxC Logistics. CBP has also announced plans to expand the pilot to all interested and qualified participants early this year.

For more information, please contact customs attorney Lenny Feldman at (305) 894-1011.

Section 321 of the Tariff Act of 1930 generally exempts from duty and taxes up to $800 worth of goods imported by one person on one day. The growing use of e-commerce has increased the number of such shipments, but CBP has said it is not receiving adequate advance information to assess the security risk of these shipments while still maintaining the clearance speeds the private sector has come to expect.

CBP has therefore initiated the Section 321 data pilot to test the feasibility of (a) obtaining advance information from regulated and non-regulated entities, such as online marketplaces, and (b) requiring additional advance data elements that identify the entity causing the shipment to cross the border, the product in the package, the listed marketplace price, and the final recipient (specific data elements will vary somewhat depending on the transmitting entity). CBP plans to use this information to improve its ability to identify and target high-risk e-commerce shipments, including for narcotics, counter-proliferation, and health and safety risks, but has said this information will not be used for entry or release purposes.

Pilot participants agree to electronically transmit the specified advance data elements regarding Section 321 shipments destined for the U.S. and arriving by any mode of shipment (although shipments designated for a foreign-trade zone remain excluded). Moreover, CBP has given participants the flexibility to transmit optional data elements as they are able to test the viability of sharing additional information.

After the end of the pilot, which is scheduled to run through August 2021, CBP will determine whether to (a) further extend and/or expand the pilot or (b) make additional advance reporting requirements mandatory in the e-commerce environment.

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