Technology Increasing CBP Ability to Enforce Trade Compliance–More Audits Coming After Warning Letters Sent to Importers

I know the title of this blog is Export Compliance Matters, but I feel compelled to provide evidence that  import compliance is also becoming a serious compliance risk. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) just announced Friday that the US government is owed 2.3 billion dollars in antidumping and countervailing duties alone. Moreover,  CBP  has issued several “informed compliance” letters encouraging prior disclosure of customs violations by warning the trade community that the CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement are enforcing trade violations. The issuance of the letters comes in tandem with more sophisticated auditing techniques that CBP has developed to catch violations, including using customs data provided by CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

The letters require recipients to return signed copies of the letter to CBP and urges recipients to step up monitoring efforts, encourages prior disclosures, and includes links to CBP’s series of Informed Compliance publications.  If you have received a letter pay attention as the odds are CBP’s data indicates you may have something to disclose.  If you don’t disclose and CBP finds violations, your ability to mitigate will be limited and CBP will likely impose penalties.

If you are importing steel, textiles, or automotive parts; or are importing from countries frequently subject to antidumping proceedings (e.g., China); or are importing merchandise that is particularly difficult to classify, you are more likely to be audited by CBP.  It is always better to do your own internal review by a qualified third party and disclose to CBP than waiting for CBP to audit you.   If you have any questions, please call my office. The more you understand your requirements the more compliant you and your company will be.