Welcome to Weise Wednesday! Twice a month we will share a brief Q&A with the former U.S. Commissioner of Customs, Mr. George Weise. If you have questions, we encourage you to send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Q. Do you agree that CBP seems to be taking a stronger trade enforcement posture than it has in the past?

A. Yes, I do. Much of this has resulted from strong Congressional pressure on CBP to enhance its trade enforcement performance. The congressional pressure culminated in the enactment of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) of 2015. Included within TFTEA was the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA), which provided broader authority for CBP to investigate allegations of dumping or countervailing duty evasion.

The overall goal of TFTEA is to protect U.S. economic security through more stringent enforcement of anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders, intellectual property rights, and other provisions protecting U.S. economic interests. CBP Commissioner McAleenan has stated that effectively implementing the provisions of TFTEA is a top priority. CBP’s strategic plan implementing the law mandates increasing the number of exams and audits, the use of predictive analytics to identify audit targets, and leveraging whistleblowers and intelligence and industry sources to enhance its enforcement efforts.

CBP has implemented electronic filing for EAPA anti-dumping and countervailing duty allegations through its revised e-Allegations portal. CBP has also created a Trade Enforcement Task Force, which works closely with partner government agencies (PGAs) to enhance enforcement of laws protecting intellectual property rights and the prohibition of goods made with forced labor.

Recent data corroborates that CBP’s enhanced enforcement efforts are real. In the last two years, seizures for trade violations have increased by 31%, as have the number of trade audits. Fines and penalties for commercial violations have increased by nearly 68% in the past year.

 

What increased enforcement means for you

All of this, coupled with the trend of increasing tariffs and trade retaliation, has made the work of trade compliance professionals extremely challenging. Today, more than ever, it is essential for companies to maintain a formal compliance program with best-in-class processes. You must exercise “reasonable care” in everything you do. It’s also important to have an internal training program that reaches all of the key players in the organization and a stringent internal audit program. Finally, global trade management software is essential to cope with this challenging trade environment and drive compliance, security, and efficiency.

 

Recommended reading

Several of these topics have been featured in previous Weise Wednesday blogposts, linked below.