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CBP’s Operational Updates for 2021

By | 2023-11-08T00:04:31+00:00 March 15th, 2021|U.S. Customs|

Earlier this year, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released an update that outlines their plan for improvements and modifications to their operations going forward in 2021. CBP is responsible for law enforcement (for individuals passing through the border, as well as commercial goods) across 300 ports of entry. 

As stated by CBP on their website: 

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the nation’s largest federal law enforcement agency charged with securing the nation’s borders and facilitating international travel and trade. Our top priority is to keep terrorists and their weapons from entering the United States.” 

CBP upholds US trade laws and ensures that the commercial goods that arrive and pass through US ports are compliant. On top of keeping Americans safe, CBP is responsible for keeping trade running smoothly and supporting economic growth in the country and blocking unsafe products, intellectual property theft, and unfair/unethical trade practices.

Today, we’ll be looking at what 2021 looks like for CBP and US importers.

In 2020… 

  • CBP dealt with a total of 646,822 encounters at the borders, including seizures and expulsions. 
  • CBP processed commercial goods with a total value of $2.24 trillion. 
  • CBP collected a total of $74.4 billion in duties. 
  • CBP completed 466 different customs audits, jumping by almost 100 (collecting $44.6 million as a result).
  • CBP enforced a total of 73,708 trade seizures, up by almost 10,000. 


Due to COVID-19…

  • There is an estimated $575 million in payments under extended deadlines due to duty deferral. 
  • Almost 3000 different importers requested extensions to the deadlines. 

Operational Updates to Note: 

The full release can be read here, but here are some pertinent things to note for US importers. 

Executive Actions: related to immigration and border security-related actions in the context of the Biden Administration (pausing Border Wall System, enforcing proclamations related to entry.) 

Transport of COVID-related goods: expeditiously clear US-authorized pharmaceuticals, PPE, and other medical equipment related to pandemic response. 

So far, CBP has seized: 

Over 177,500 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 409 incidents;

16 million counterfeit face masks in 534 incidents;

37,000 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 118 incidents;

38,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 224 incidents; and

6,000 tablets of antibiotics, such as azithromycin, in 105 incidents.

CBP Employee Vaccinations: CBP strongly encourages that personnel get the vaccine as soon as possible to safely continue serving the agency’s missions.

Increase in Enforcement: enforcement encounters are up 6% since Dec 2020. CBP staffing will correspond with this growth in encounters.

CBP’s responsibility is to effectively enforce trade laws and streamline the flow of trade. Once the goods have been released, CBP continues to reserve the right to conduct reviews and audits on the imports. How does the agency do this, exactly? CBP states:

To accomplish comprehensive, agile, and uniform enforcement, CBP employs a national trade enforcement program that offers a framework for national collaboration within CBP and among other government agencies and multinational partners.”

Staying up-to-date on the happenings of US trade regulations and CBP operations is an important part of maintaining success as an importer. It is also central to how a customs broker stays informed and serves their clients. Partnering up with the right customs broker can help importers save time, money, and resources. To learn more about working with customs brokers, click here