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  4. Natural Resources Protection and Enforcement

Natural Resources Protection and Enforcement

Natural resource crimes are a worldwide concern with far-reaching implications for the environment, public health and safety, and socio-economic development.

While these challenges are often considered from a conservation and environmental point of view, they bear significant economic implications: The value of illegal trade in natural resources and waste was estimated at between $91 billion-$259 billion annually in 2016, thereby generating significant profits for criminals. CBP investigates and collaborates with partner government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and international, multilateral partners to ensure trade in natural resources is sustainable and in compliance with international trade agreements, protocols, and conventions and applicable U.S. customs authorities.

In June 2022, CBP, as the lead law enforcement agency of U.S. trade laws, developed a Green Trade Strategy, which aims to strengthen enforcement against these crimes to drive meaningful changes in trade practices.


6 Icons depicting each aspect of CBP's environmental trade portfolio - USMCA enforcement, Illegal logging, illegal mining, conflict diamonds, Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing, and wildlife trafficking

How does CBP protect natural resources?

CBP helps protect natural resources through the enforcement of multiple U.S. trade laws, which support environmentally sustainable trade practices that consider the health and wellbeing of consumers, animals, plants, and the environment. CBP defines environmentally sustainable trade as legal trade practices that use sustainable methods in the cultivation, harvest, processing, transport, production, and manufacture of goods. This means complying with environmental trade laws and conventions to use natural resources in a way that supports local and global economies while ensuring the health and protection of wildlife, plants, and native habitat.

How does CBP enforce natural resource crimes?

CBP is committed to environmental stewardship while ensuring American businesses and consumers have access to a variety of goods at competitive prices. We work closely with federal, tribal, state, and local agencies, non-governmental organizations, and international government bodies to enforce compliance with environmental trade laws and to protect the American economy and natural resources from unsustainable and illegal trade practices.

CBP collaborates with domestic and international partners, and leverages its authorities, to ensure trade in natural resources is sustainable and compliant with U.S. and international laws and conventions.

What types of natural resource crime does CBP investigate?

CBP's enforcement covers a broad scope of environmental and natural resource crimes that not only threaten U.S. national and economic security, but also the environment and local communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihood and survival. Some of the crimes we investigate, and target include illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, illegal mining, and conflict diamonds.

CBP also works with the governments of Canada and Mexico to ensure compliance with Chapter 24 of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

How can you help?

CBP encourages stakeholders in the trade community to closely examine their supply chains to ensure goods imported into the United States are compliant with the laws.

If you wish to report allegations of natural resources crimes, please submit them to CBP on the Trade Violations Reporting website. Allegations may be reported anonymously. The more detailed and timely the information you provide, the more likely the enforcement action can be successful.

Learn More about Protecting Natural Resources

Last Modified: Nov 20, 2023