U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently released FY 2020 Trade Statistics. The total import value for goods in FY 2020 was $2.42 trillion, slightly below the FY 2018 and 2019 figures, but above the 2017 amount. The number of entry summaries was also down slightly. Total duty collected, however, was up to $74.4 billion from $71.9 billion in 2019, and just $34.6 billion in 2017. The increase is primarily due to the Section 201, 232, and 301 duties collected on various products (washing machines and solar panels, steel and aluminum, and products from China and the EU). https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/trade.

Enforcement actions on imported products were generally up across the board. Completed audits rose from 391 in FY 2019 to 466 in FY 2020, with collections due to audits increasing from $43.1 million to $44.6 million. Trade penalties issued increased from 2,108 to 2,309. Liquidated damages claims did decrease slightly from 21,093 in 2019 to 19,612 in 2020, and the total amount collected from trade-related penalties and liquidated damages dropped about one-third, to just over $20.1 million.

Total trade seizures were also up, to 73,708 in FY 2020 from 62,509 in FY 2019. Just under half of all seizures were for IPR and import safety issues. Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) investigations – AD/CVD evasion – more than doubled, from 31 in FY 2019 to 64 in FY 2020. Lost revenue identified for EAPA was $287 million.

The major new enforcement area is Forced Labor. Withhold Release Orders (WROs) went from 6 in FY 2019 to 14 in FY 2020, with 324 cargos detained. CBP detained over $55 million in cargo related to WROs.

Enforcement remains a central component of CBP operations, and importers should continue to be aware of both new areas of concern as well as continuing activities.

Steven W. Baker

AIIS Customs Committee Chair

swbaker@swbakerlaw.com

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