U.S. Customs and Border Protection is adding shipments arriving by ocean and international mail to the scope of an ongoing test under which additional data elements for Section 321 goods are transmitted in advance of their arrival. CBP is also extending this test through August 2021.

For more information on this test or Section 321 requirements in general, 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 increasing 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.

The pilot is currently limited to nine participants, including carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, and online marketplaces, but that number has not yet been reached and CBP is still accepting applications from prospective participants.

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. The pilot previously covered shipments by air, truck, and rail and is now being expanded to ocean shipments (because CBP has learned that many e-commerce entities utilize this mode of transportation as well as others) and international mail shipments (because it is common in the e-commerce environment for entities to use international mail for Section 321 shipments). Shipments designated for a foreign-trade zone remain excluded.

After the end of the pilot, which has now been extended 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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