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Thursday, May 6th, 2021

DHS releases report on cross-border e-commerce

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On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Center of Excellence’s (COE) Borders, Trade, and Immigration Institute (BTI) announced the release of a report on cross-border e-commerce.

Working with the University of Houston, the report looked at the challenges posed by emerging technologies when it comes to cross-border e-commerce, and how to leverage those technologies for their economic advantages, better risk assessment capabilities, as well as how they can expand Customs and Border Protection’s data-sharing efforts.

According to the study, advancements in technology have encouraged an increasingly competitive e-commerce marketplace, which has changed how global trade operates. The rise in e-commerce leads to an increased risk of trade violation and the potential for sales of harmful or unsafe goods. Lack of pre-arrival data such as seller information, product identifiers, or product classification can lead to delayed processing times and, potentially, compromised import safety and security, the report said. Adopting technological advancements can be one way to overcome the data gaps in e-commerce, the report said.

“With more of the market relying on e-commerce, it is even more critical that we do what we can to protect it from bad actors in this ever-evolving digital marketplace,” said S&T Program Manager Theophilos Gemelas.

BTI developed options to shrink data sharing gaps, including establishing authorized economic operator (AEO) programs tailored to cross-border e-commerce and requiring data sharing regardless of data laws. Current AEO doctrine does not apply to e-commerce, the report said. Additionally, the study found that providing AEO certification to compliant stakeholders and developing a new federated data platform and information and communications technology infrastructure can increase the probability of CBP getting accurate data, as well as increase economic efficiency for customers, importers, and other stakeholders.