MIAMI— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) import specialists reeled in $7.6 million since May in duties from 676 shipments of imported tilapia, thanks in part to the newly launched Operation Just Keep Swimming.
Launched on May 12, Operation Just Keep Swimming addresses the evasion of Chinese 301 tariffs on tilapia fillet imports arriving daily at seaports across the United States.
The program helps import specialists across the nation monitor imports of tilapia from China as a precaution against United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) decision to remove the 25 percent import tariff on frozen tilapia that went into effect in 2018 and grant a retroactive exclusion. The exclusion, which provides for frozen tilapia weighing no more than 115 grams each, is among the 177 product exclusions identified in USTR’s Notice of Exclusions published in the Federal Register in March of this year.
“Customs and Border Protection has a dual mission to facilitate legitimate cargo and enforce trade laws for CBP and other agencies,” said Diane Sabatino, Miami Director Field Operation. “Working as a team, focusing and coordinating our individual efforts, we achieve far greater results, such as the recovery of trade revenue.”
CBP’s Agriculture and Prepared Products Center of Excellence and Expertise (APPCEE) serves as a conduit for food imports by focusing on searching for imports subject to the additional 25 percent duties.
CBP’s workplace changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have not impacted the Center’s processing operations said Center Director Dina Amato. “We continue to operate at full capacity and remain committed to supporting public needs during this challenging time” said Amato. “It is important import specialists remain engaged with CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists. At the Center, we serve as a bridge between the trade community and the Ports of Entry.”
CBP is the federal government’s second largest source of revenue, playing a key role in administering these additional duties and quotas. The agency also enforces nearly 500 U.S. trade laws and regulations on behalf of 49 different partner government agencies, including the Department of Commerce and USTR, including implementation and ongoing administration of the new remedies. As a result, CBP assessed nearly $29 billion in duties for Section 301 goods from China in 2019.
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