CBP Annual Report Review
Even in a year of significant disruption, the (CBP) Customs and Border Protection’s annual report doesn’t have many surprises. If you’ve been paying attention for the last twelve months, you already know that trade is up slightly, travel is way down, revenue from tariffs is up, and trade and transportation are booming. They’re also increasingly and with greater accuracy, biometrically identifying people for travel security, which has vast implications for vaccine tracking and medical clearances for flights.
After processing $2.4 trillion in imports via 32.8 million entries, overall, CBP collected approximately $74.4 billion in duties, taxes, and other fees on behalf of the U.S. government in FY2020. Still, they did allow approximately 2600 importers to file for deferrals of over $574 million in duties, taxes, and fees. Despite this being a slight dip in trade volume over FY2019, revenue is up 3.5%. The $74.4 million includes $1.8 billion in antidumping and countervailing duties via the 540 AD/CVD orders in effect during FY2020. Based on early information, there was a 219% increase in air cargo and a 123% increase in shipments by truck.
As expected, the number of travelers moving about the world came to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only 238 million travelers were registered by CBP, a 42% overall decline. Air travel alone saw a 54.2% decline as travel restrictions forced passenger flights to the ground while cargo flights struggled to keep up with the demand for PPE around the world. For the travelers who made it onto their flights, 23 million were scanned using biometrics, expected to be 97% accurate. The implications of this technology to identify vaccinated travelers could speed processing through airports for pre-cleared passengers. With the assistance of biometrics, 292 travelers with fraudulent identification were denied entry into the country.
Intellectual property, counterfeit goods, and forced labor are covered extensively in the report as CBP continues to battle on all fronts as the pandemic increased shipments exponentially, including those of counterfeit medications, PPE, and other goods marked for medical use. According to the report, “177,356 Food and Drug Administration-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 378 incidents; 12,709,390 counterfeit face masks in 352 incidents; and 38,098 Food and Drug Administration prohibited chloroquine tablets in 221 incidents.” Goods produced by forced labor are under intense scrutiny as 44 active Withhold Release Orders are enforced to protect workers.
At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone wondered if we’d make it through the other side safely, sanely, and without suffering. Sadly few of us haven’t been touched directly or indirectly by the virus or the market fluctuations that pandemic logistics has brought. We have learned that there’s no sure bet that anyone is going to know what’s coming tomorrow; the best you can hope for is that you have a seasoned professional in your corner to guide and advise you as the situations develop worldwide. Bestway is that trusted partner, an adviser who can work on your behalf and advocate for you and your cargo.