Amy Magnus, president of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, warned customs brokers and importers to anticipate more Customs and Border Protection enforcement actions in 2019.
“CBP is getting more intelligent at predicting violations,” she told attendees at the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT) conference in Newport, R.I., on Wednesday.
The agency is increasingly using data from its system to perform “predictive analytics” to more precisely target violations that may occur in the import entry process.
Since 2012, CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise (CEEs) have become better informed about where potential violations may occur with the imported products that they oversee. “As CEEs gear up, they’re getting better at what they need to target,” said Magnus, who also serves as director of customs affairs and compliance for St. Albans, Vt.-based A.N. Deringer.
The agency also has increased its enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty evaders.
On Tuesday, for example, the Justice Department and CBP announced that Univar USA, based in Downers Grove, Ill., agreed to pay $62.5 million to settle allegations that it imported 36 shipments Chinese-origin saccharin that was transshipped through Taiwan between 2007 and 2012 to avoid a 329 percent antidumping duty.
Both the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) and False Claims Act (FCA) allow whistle-blowers to point out duty evasion claims to CBP. The financial windfall to a whistle-blower, if the claim is verified, can be quite substantial, especially since FCA claim amounts aren’t capped.
“You should worry about that disgruntled employee, if you’re doing something wrong,” Magnus said.
On April 3, the White House issued a memorandum cracking down on the illicit traffic in counterfeit goods, with calls to hold all players within the online marketplace, including third-party payment processors and customs brokers, accountable when wrongdoing occurs.
The memorandum requires within the next 210 days the delivery of a report to the White House that outlines the current state of counterfeit goods trafficking and provides recommendations for curbing their importation and sale.
Magnus noted the report is expected to include recommendations for how to strengthen U.S. enforcement against counterfeit goods, not only those manufacturers which engage in those activities, but any entity involved in the facilitation of those imports into the U.S.