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  3. Basic Importing and Exporting
  4. E-Commerce
  5. E-Commerce Frequently Asked Questions

E-Commerce Frequently Asked Questions

This page was created to answer questions to E-Commerce email inquiries to assist customers in having a better understanding of e-commerce processes and trade activities.

General Questions

What goods are not permitted to be entered under Section 321?

Section 321 does not allow:

  • Merchandise subject to antidumping and countervailing duties. 
  • Merchandise subject to quota.
  • Merchandise subject to a tax imposed under the Internal Revenue Code that is collected by other agencies on imported goods.
    • Alcoholic beverages and cigars (including cheroots and cigarillos) and cigarettes containing tobacco, cigarette tubes, cigarette papers, smoking tobacco (including water pipe tobacco, pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco), snuff, or chewing tobacco are not allowed

Pursuant to the Customs Modernization Act, it is the responsibility of the importer to use “reasonable care” to “enter,” “classify” and “value” the goods and provide any other information necessary to enable CBP to properly assess duties, collect accurate statistics, and determine whether all other applicable legal requirements are met. 

Yes.

Merchandise subject to a tax imposed under the Internal Revenue Code that is collected by other agencies on imported goods is not allowed to be entered under Section 321.

  • Alcoholic beverages and cigars (including cheroots and cigarillos) and cigarettes containing tobacco, cigarette tubes, cigarette papers, smoking tobacco (including water pipe tobacco, pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco), snuff, or chewing tobacco are not allowed.

In the case of certain personal or household articles accompanying persons arriving in the United States, those may be imported under Section 321.

There is no limit on the number of Entry Type 86 entries a broker can file.  However, the regulation does limit the use of Section 321 (including Entry Type 86) to shipments imported by “one person on one day” having an aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of $800 or less.

Shipments with an aggregate value up to $800 per day per person are allowed.

Examples:

  • One person can import 4 shipments each valued at $200 in one day
  • One person can import 1 shipment a day valued at $800 or less
     

Under Section 321, one person may import multiple shipments on one day so long as the aggregate fair market value of the shipments does not exceed $800. If any single shipment imported that day breaches the $800 ceiling, then none of the shipments imported that day may be entered under Section 321.

When a shipment exceeds the $800 threshold, none of the shipments imported on that day by a known ultimate consignee, often a purchaser, are eligible for entry under Section 321. The shipments must instead be entered as a Type 11 informal or Type 01 formal entry.

We note that, if a carrier is affecting entry for a de minimis shipment by clearing a shipment off the manifest, they are subject to the standard of reasonable care. 19 C.F.R. § 143.26(b).

Customs brokers must be duly designated to enter qualifying shipments through a valid power of attorney and must comply with all other applicable broker statutory and regulatory requirements. The broker can have a POA with the consignee on whose behalf the broker is affecting entry. Generally, this is the carrier or freight forwarder, not the final deliver-to party/consumer. This means that for purposes of an ET86, a broker may execute a POA with Consignee A (usually the nominal consignee/carrier), file as the IOR, and on the entry, name Consignee B (usually the ultimate consignee/consumer) to whom the $800 ceiling applies. This is because the carrier has the right to make entry for the shipment, but the consumer is the named “imported by one person on one day” party for purposes of 19 U.S.C. §1321(a)(2)/19 C.F.R. § 10.151. Note that the consumer also has the right to make entry but is rarely involved in/aware of the import transaction.  In the informal entry context, since the term “consignee” encompasses nominal consignees, their financial interest in the imported article/import transaction does not have to equate to that of an owner or purchaser. In this context, a POA with the online marketplace from which the product was purchased would also be acceptable to CBP.

Yes.

19 C.F.R. Part 128, Subpart C sets forth requirements and procedures for the clearance of imported merchandise carried by express consignment operators and carriers, including couriers, under special procedures.

De minimis shipments pose the same risks as all other commercial cargo.

Yes, a corporation may be considered the importing “person” for unsold merchandise up to an aggregate fair retail value of $800 per day.  Please refer to CBP's Administrative Ruling Related to Domestic Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers One Pager.

A MID is not a required data element for de minimis shipments.  However, the expansion of the Section 321 Data Pilot has included it as an optional element.

Yes, if they are identified on the bill of lading/manifest.

No, the exemption will not be granted in any case in which merchandise covered by a single order or contract is forwarded in separate lots to secure the benefit.

CBP monitors/reviews shipments the same regardless of value.

No, the Section 321 monetary threshold applies to one person per day regardless of the port of arrival.

Yes, ISF requirements for ocean freight remain the same for de minimis shipments.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a ministerial role in AD/CVD and enforces the instructions of the U.S. Commerce Department(Commerce). Commerce’s instructions specifically direct CBP to assess AD/CVD on all entries for consumption of subject merchandise, without any exceptions. The AD/CVD statutes specifically apply to “all entries, or withdrawals from warehouse, for consumption of merchandise subject to a [AD/CVD] order on or after the date of publication of such order”, without any mention of the de minimis exemption. See 19 USC 1671h (CVD); 19 USC 1673g (AD).In addition, CBP has the authority to deny Section 321 entry and require a formal entry for any goods claiming de minimis exemptions, regardless of the value of the goods, under 19 C.F.R. § 143.22.

CBP enforces the provisions of the UFLPA regardless of the value of the goods. Goods entered pursuant to Section 321 are thus not exempt from CBP’s enforcement procedures.

Entry Type 86

The Entry Type 86 Test allows for submission of de minimis entries subject to partner government agency (PGA) data requirements.

Entry Type 86 does not require an importation and entry bond.

Yes.

“Country of origin” is a required data element for Entry Type 86.

Yes, for purposes of this test customs brokers must be authorized to conduct customs business on behalf of the owner, purchaser, or consignee of eligible shipments through a valid power of attorney.

All manifest requirements remain the same.

The party who filed the data is responsible for correcting the data for purposes of Entry Type 86.

Entry Type 86 Test is a voluntary pilot program.  More information can be found at 84 FR 40079.

Yes.  A foreign seller/vendor may be a nominal consignee arranging for shipment, or they may be the owner of the imported merchandise if it arrives to the U.S. unsold.

As an owner, they can self-file.  As a consignee, they need to get a broker to file on their behalf as the IOR.

ET86 shipments are transmitted in ACE the same as other entry types.

Over 450 filers are participating in the Entry Type 86 Test.

Any PGA data reporting requirements would be satisfied by the PGA Message Set and the filing of any supporting documentation via the Document Image System (DIS).

Under the Entry Type 86 Test, the owner, purchaser, or a licensed Customs broker is required to file the entry.

No, the exemption is not based on the filer code.

A shipment may not be admitted into an FTZ, in order to be broken down into smaller shipments, because the value of the shipment is assessed at the time of importation, not entry.  Moreover, 19 U.S.C. § 1321 specifically prohibits a shipment from being broken down in an effort to obtain duty free treatment.  Additionally, retail trade is prohibited from occurring within an FTZ.
 

Yes. 

Section 321 Data Pilot

No, the MID is the manufacturer identification code used to identify the manufacturer of the merchandise. The seller may or may not be the manufacturer.  The Marketplace Seller Account Number/Seller ID as requested by the Section 321 Data Pilot is a unique identifier a marketplace assigns to sellers.  
 

The shipment security scan under the Section 321 Data Pilot allows air carriers to submit verification that a foreign security scan for the shipment has been completed (such as an x-ray image or other security screening report).
 

The Section 321 Data Pilot does not replace ISF or ACAS filings.  All existing Trade Act of 2002 requirements and all manifest requirements continue to apply.

It is open to all modes of transportation.
 

Participating in the data pilot expansion will:

  • Allow additional companies the opportunity to develop processes for gathering the data from various sources in the supply chain to transmit a single and complete filing.
  • Assist CBP in identifying future trade facilitation benefits.
  • Continue to explore different and new technology that becomes available and can be incorporated into future regulation.
     

The party that hired the broker would provide the information.

The Section 321 Data Pilot was initially limited to nine trade entities:

  • Marketplaces:  Amazon, eBay, Zulily
  • Carriers:  FedEx, UPS, and DHL
  • Logistics providers:  BoxC Logistics, XB Fulfillment, PreClear (International Bridge)

CBP is soliciting additional participants for the data pilot.  Please see 88 FR 10140 for additional details.
 

Last Modified: Apr 10, 2024