Welcome to the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) website. The resources below will help you learn more about what EAPA is, how it works, and whether EAPA is right for you. Please note that these references are for guidance, and do not replace or supersede the law or regulations for EAPA proceedings.
Congress passed the Enforce and Protect Act, or EAPA, in February 2016, as a part of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) of 2015. While the overall objective of TFTEA was to ensure a fair and competitive trade environment, the EAPA legislation specifically was intended to improve trade law enforcement and duty collection for antidumping and countervailing duty orders. To that end, CBP has designed an investigative process that follows strict timelines, issuing the majority of determinations to evasion within 300 days, and is coordinated by a case investigator, who is responsible for marshalling it through the investigative process, from filing to the determination as to evasion. Overall, the EAPA investigative process provides for a multi-party, transparent administrative proceeding, where parties can both participate in and learn the outcome of the investigation. It also provides an option for both administrative and judicial reviews of the determination as to evasion.
We are here to help small businesses. If you are interested in filing an EAPA allegation but need some additional help, please email us at email@example.com.
Ideal Allegations and Investigation Process
CBP looks for following information in an ideal EAPA allegation.
- The person or representative who submits the allegation, or alleger, must provide their name and contact information
- Allegers must be interested parties, as defined by the statute and regulations at 19 CFR §165.1. Interested parties are importers of covered merchandise; trade or business associations; domestic manufacturers and producers; foreign manufacturers, producers, or exporters of covered merchandise. For full descriptions, please review the statute. If you need more clarification, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Allegers must provide a description of covered merchandise and the applicable AD/CVD order(s).
- Allegers must provide evidence that reasonably suggests evasion of an AD/CVD order. They do not have to provide that the violator intended to evade AD/CVD fees, just evidence that they did.
Examples of some sources of data relevant data cited in previous allegations include, Panjiva; Import Genius; Datamyne; PIERS; first-hand accounts of evasion presented in signed affidavits, photographs, or videos; third party market research; email message between people; foreign customs data; or any other data that suggests evasion. CBP does not endorse any data providers, and this list does not include all potential sources of data.
Below are the allegation checklists we use to determine if an allegation meets all the EAPA criteria. Please consider reviewing them to see if your allegation contains all the information we ask for.
An EAPA investigation must be completed within a year, barring exceptional circumstances.
It is free to file an EAPA allegation and the process is transparent, so you will always be aware of how the allegation is progressing. Below are links to a diagram of the investigative process, a chart explaining the timeline, and a visual depiction of the timeline.
Diagram of the Investigative Process
EAPA Investigation Timeline Chart
Frequently Asked Questions
An EAPA allegation is defined in TFTEA as “an allegation that a person has entered covered merchandise into the customs territory of the United States through evasion that is filed by an interested party and accompanied by information reasonably available to the party that filed the allegation."
There are eight key differences between an EAPA allegation and an e-Allegation. Please see the chart below.
E-Allegations can pertain to any trade violation.
EAPA allegations are specific to AD/CVD evasion.
Allegers can remain anonymous, and do not need to provide contact information.*
*The submission form will ask for, but not require, allegers’ contact information.
Allegers must provide their true identity and contact information.
May be filed by any member of the public.
May only be filed by interested parties, as defined in 19 CFR §165.1, or Other Government Agencies.
Must provide an adequate and specific description of the merchandise involved.
For example, recessed LED lighting fixture vs. light bulb.
Must provide a statutory description of covered merchandise and the applicable AD/CVD order(s).
Allegers should provide as much information they have on the claimed violation, including specific descriptions and evidence to help CBP in its review of the merits of the allegation.
Allegers must provide reasonably available information that suggests evasion of an AD/CVD order.
CBP will provide a tracking number but cannot share specific information about the allegation and its status.
Parties to the investigation will be informed of the initiation and outcome of the investigation. There are set timelines for determining applicability of interim measures to protect the United States from revenue loss (90 days from initiation of investigation) and making a determination as to evasion (300 days from initiation of investigation).
Allegations will be assigned to CBP offices with subject matter expertise to review and validate.
The allegation will be assigned to team of CBP experts, including case investigators, targeters, Import Specialists, and Regulatory Auditors, to investigate the allegation from initiation until the determination as to evasion, if the information in the allegation reasonably suggests evasion.
In an e-Allegation investigation, CBP does not have the authority to apply an adverse inference. This means that if a claimed violator does not respond to CBP’s request for information, CBP cannot make a determination of wrongdoing based, in part, on the claimed violator’s lack of cooperation.
CBP may apply an adverse inference if a party fails to cooperate in the investigation to the best of its ability. This means that if a party does not respond to CBP, CBP can interpret their lack of response as evidence of wrongdoing.
The term interested party in this part refers only to the following:
- A foreign manufacturer, producer, or exporter, or any importer (not limited to importers of record and including the party against whom the allegation is brought) of covered merchandise or a trade or business association a majority of the members of which are producers, exporters, or importers of such merchandise;
- A manufacturer, producer, or wholesaler in the United States of a domestic like product;
- A certified union or recognized union or group of workers that is representative of an industry engaged in the manufacture, production, or wholesale in the United States of a domestic like product;
- A trade or business association a majority of the members of which manufacture, produce, or wholesale a domestic like product in the United States;
- An association a majority of the members of which is composed of interested parties described above with respect to a domestic like product; or,
- If the covered merchandise is a processed agricultural product, as defined in 19 U.S.C. 1677(4)(E), a coalition or trade association that is representative of any of the following: processors; processors and producers; or processors and growers.
If CBP determines that the allegation reasonably suggests evasion of AD/CVD duties, the Enforcement Operations Division will lead the EAPA investigation process. An investigation involves a team of CBP employees, which can include, but is not limited to, personnel from the EAPA branch, Regulatory Audit and Agency Advisory Services, National Threat Analysis Centers, Centers of Excellence and Expertise, and Field Offices. The exact team will depend on the specifics of each allegation.
EAPA is held to specific statutory deadlines. If the information contained in the allegation reasonably suggests evasion of AD/CVD duties, CBP will initiate an investigation within 15 business days of officially receiving the allegation.
From there, CBP has 90 calendar days to make a formal decision on whether there is reasonable suspicion that AD/CVD duties have been evaded. Generally, CBP must make a decision on whether AD/CVD duties were evaded, based on substantial evidence, no later than 300 days after the investigation was initiated. In extraordinarily complex investigations, CBP must make a decision no later than 360 days after a case is initiated.
CBP protects all business confidential information submitted to CBP, as long as it is appropriately identified as business confidential.
CBP cannot file or initiate its own EAPA allegations.