U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced May 2 that it has established within its Office of Trade a Trade Enforcement Task Force that will focus on issues related to the enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty laws and the interdiction of imported products using forced, convict or child labor. CBP said this task force will allow it to leverage the new enforcement authorities of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and promote coordination with other federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

In remarks to the American Iron and Steel Institute, CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said that CBP, in collaboration with ICE/HSI, has had increasing success in identifying, penalizing and disrupting distribution channels of imported goods that seek to evade AD/CV duties. CBP ’s AD/CV targeting and enforcement activities take place at every stage in the import process, he said, and port-level personnel “are continuously reviewing import information to detect AD/CV evasion and noncompliance, deter future evasion, and collect on duties owed.”

Kerlikowske said CBP is also “constantly enhancing AD/CV detection and enforcement protocols, improving our targeting and analysis, and employing all available authorities to disrupt increasingly complex evasion.” For example, CBP has broadened the use of single transaction bonds since 2013 to ensure additional protection when there is reasonable evidence that a risk of revenue loss exists. Further, in 2015 CBP created an AD/CV collections team within its Office of Administration that increases CBP’s technical expertise on AD/CV processes, enables earlier identification of importers unwilling or unable to pay outstanding bills, and better integrates processes to anticipate AD/CV debts rather than simply react to those debts after they are formally established.

One of the specific aims of the new task force, Kerlikowske indicated, will be to assist in the Obama administration’s efforts to aid the domestic steel industry in the face of significant global overcapacity. The task force will allow CBP to more aggressively enforce the approximately 270 AD/CV duty orders already in place on steel, alloy and other metal products, he said, as well as the more than 40 potential orders currently in the works. CBP is already increasing reviews of Chinese steel imports, using statistical modeling to better identify and predict high-risk steel shipments, and requiring “live entry” on certain shipments of steel plate from China, a requirement that could be expanded to other high-risk steel imports if it proves to be effective.

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