E-Commerce is a growing segment of the U.S. economy and has been increasing significantly for the past several years. Consumer habits are changing as the internet empowers individuals to make purchases online. These advances in economic activity have led to increasing volumes of imports of small, just-in-time packages, creating inspection challenges for CBP. E-Commerce shipments pose the same health, safety, and economic security risks as containerized shipments, but the volume is higher and growing. Additionally, transnational criminal organizations are shipping illicit goods to the United States via small packages due to a perceived lower interdiction risk and less severe consequences if the package is interdicted. Furthermore, new or infrequent importers often possess less familiarity with U.S. customs laws and regulations, which can lead to the importation of non-compliant goods. CBP must increase its ability to address the administrative and resource challenges this creates, particularly when coupled with the growing volume of e-commerce trade.
To address these challenges effectively, CBP has developed an E-Commerce Strategic Plan. This strategy highlights private industry and foreign governments as key resources in CBP's continuous assessment of the e-commerce environment. The strategy includes efforts to educate the public and trade community to ensure they understand their responsibilities as importers to comply with customs regulations. The strategy also emphasizes enforcement initiatives, such as streamlining enforcement processes affected by increasing e-commerce volumes, leveraging enforcement partnerships with partner government agencies and foreign governments, and improving data collection from CBP targeting systems and field personnel.
CBP remains committed to facilitating legitimate trade while ensuring consumer safety and economic vitality as the volume of e-commerce shipments continues to increase. This e-commerce strategy positions CBP to properly enforce violations and address the various complexities and threats resulting from this global shift in trade to an e-commerce platform.