Customs brokers caught up in US crackdown on Chinese e-commerce traffic

Source: The Loadstar
Date: 30th May 2024

A crackdown by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agency and a large seizure of goods has led to some Chinese e-commerce sellers suspending air charter operations in the country, according to industry sources.

The CBP seizure, thought to amount to some 1,000 tons of goods, has made some Chinese shippers nervous.

One charter broker said a Chinese e-commerce customer had ‘stepped away’ from a planned charter flight, concerned over more confiscations.

The crackdown on e-commerce imports has also led to the recent suspension of some six customs brokers.

One of the participation in Entry Type 86 was suspended on Monday for 90 days, until 24 August.

Entry Type 86 allows the import of goods into the US without the payment of duties and taxes, if the value of the shipment is less than $800, the de minimis threshold.

During its participation in the Entry Type 86 program, it had an “exceptionally high, 99.999%, compliance rate”, it claimed and added. It has always sought to be compliant and work in partnership with US CBP to address any concerns they have raised.

Despite the extraordinary compliance rate, it was given less than seven days before the suspension went into effect and no opportunity to address any potential deficiencies. The involved party has strongly disagreed with this decision and intends to press for reinstatement as soon as possible.

It told customers it would help to try to minimise disruption to their business.

Meanwhile, sources familiar with the issue confirmed to The Loadstar that a major seizure had been made, and while they declined to go on the record, they said it related to shipments from Shein.

Furthermore, they noted that some of the big retail brands were also facing issues related to textile shipments coming in through Los Angeles. And an import broker said there were “two big issues” at Los Angeles Airport.

“One is Customs discovering lots of drugs – fentanyl and drug-making tools – in e-commerce shipments. The second is shippers declaring the value of goods to be less than $800, the amount an individual can bring in.”

The source also suggested that at least two Asian airlines had seen shipments put on hold daily in Los Angeles. A broker also revealed they were now looking at bringing in e-commerce goods via Canada and then trucking them across the border – although Canada may face some disruption in coming weeks, as The Loadstar reports.

It was quite common for the US to confiscate goods but normally it would not disrupt shipping plans.

Meanwhile, another US source suggested there was a much bigger issue brewing around the import of goods from China: these “larger things” were related to textiles, where there has been some concern over the forced labour, they said, but would not be drawn to provide any further details.

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