U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently marked the second anniversary of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA), which was implemented in February of 2016. TFTEA is the “first comprehensive authorization of CBP since the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2003, and set forth an overall objective of ensuring a fair and competitive trade environment.” TFTEA reshaped, strengthened and modernized how CBP is to accomplish its trade mission and assists CBP in protecting “American consumers and businesses from fraudulent trade activities while ensuring the swift flow of legitimate, fair, and safe imports entering the U.S. stream of commerce.” The enactment of TFTEA has been a major priority for CBP particularly because TFTEA mandates or further formalizes additional authorities, including the following:
- The Enforce and Protect Act of 2015 (EAPA) established “formal procedures for the investigation of ADCVD evasion allegations against U.S. importers.” Since EAPA’s creation in August 2017, “CBP has initiated 16 investigations, preventing the evasion of more than $45 million in ADCVD annually.”
- The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), works with trade industry representatives to receive policy and procedure recommendations, while enhancing CBP’s approach to trade enforcement.
- TFTEA officially prohibited the importation of all goods into the U.S. made with any form of forced labor. Additionally, a Forced Labor Division was established within the Office of Trade. CBP thus far has detained 57 shipments of goods, valued at $6.3 million, suspected of involving forced labor.
- Exercising its authority under TFTEA to partner with the private sector, CBP announced a recent collaboration with Procter & Gamble (P&G), as part of the Donations Acceptance Program. P&G donated testing devices for use by CBP Officers to detect counterfeit P&G products entering the U.S.
- Finally, TFTEA raised the de minimis value (the value of a shipment of merchandise that may be imported free of duties and taxes) from $200 to $800. CBP also deployed TFTEA drawback, enabling an automated approach for U.S. manufacturers and businesses to obtain import-paid duty, tax, and fee refunds on exported goods.