Did You Know: The 2015 Trade Enforcement Act Can Save Importers Money?


Arent Fox LLP 2016-04-26

Buried among all the provisions arming the government with new enforcement tools in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 are a handful of benefits which, if applied correctly and appropriately, could save importers money.

Signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016 (and which we covered in two previous alerts on February 17, 2016 and March 1, 2016), the Act contains the most far reaching set of changes since the Customs Modernization Act, including significant updates to the operations and programs of US Customs and Border Protection, new provisions for combating evasion of the antidumping and countervailing duty laws, and the inclusion of brand new measures to protect intellectual property rights.

Found below are a number of the key cost-saving benefits.

De Minimis Entry Threshold Increased to $800. Effective March 10, 2016, the Act raised the threshold for a “Section 321 Entry,” which may be used to enter articles duty free and without all the requirements of a formal entry, from $200 to $800. This increase applies to shipments of articles imported by one person (e.g., a company) on one day, other than in the case of articles sent as gifts from a person in foreign countries or in the case of articles accompanying and for the personal or household use of a person arriving in the United States. Further, merchandise subject to the jurisdiction of other government agencies, and merchandise subject to AD/CVD, cannot be entered on Section 321 Entries. The higher threshold enables companies to clear more low risk, low value merchandise without the administrative costs and burdens of ascertaining all the entry data elements and filing the entry. However, we caution that goods imported on Section 321 Entries lose their “traceability,” and therefore should only be used on miscellaneous, low risk shipments which are unlikely to require supply chain traceability in the future.

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