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  • 03 Feb 2020
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De Minimis 800

Table of Contents:

De Minimis 800: 2016 Changes

De Minimis 800 Rules

De Minimis 800 and the eCommerce Boom

Effects of the De Minimis Increase

Section 321 Release & De Minimis 800

De Minimis 800: GeTS eCommerce Managed Services

Ecommerce has increased the competitiveness of small and midsize businesses, allowing them to reach more customers around the globe. Multinationals and startups are also taking advantage of globalization by adopting innovative strategies to deliver product to global customers more efficiently. Ecommerce accounted for $2.3 trillion in sales in 2017 and is expected to nearly double to $4.5 trillion by 2021. As the ecommerce boom continues to create opportunities for businesses in the United States, regulatory agencies are updating regulations, such as that on De Minimis 800, governing the flow of low-value shipments.


De Minimis 800: 2016 Changes

De Minimis 800: 2016 Changes

In 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed more than $2.4 trillion in trade with 33 million import entries and collected roughly $46 billion in duties, taxes and other fees, the largest amount collected in the last five years. On March 10, 2016, CBP raised the value of a shipment of merchandise imported by one person on one day that generally may be imported free of duties and taxes from $200 to $800. The increased de minimis exemption was made possible by an amendment of the Tariff Act of 1930 included in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.


This means that shipments valued at $800 or less (Section 321 shipments) are now eligible for duty and tax-free entry under the same processes and with the same restrictions that currently apply to de minimis shipments of $200 or less. It also means more low-value e-commerce shipments are eligible for expedited clearance, leading to significant savings for businesses. For e-commerce firms that sell to overseas customers, a higher de minimis means that certain goods can reach customers faster and at a lower cost.


The increased de minimis value also benefits consumers who buy low-value items from international e-commerce companies. Customers pay less and get their products faster, which improves the overall customer experience. As a whole, a higher de minimis threshold is a positive for global trade participants and sets an example for other countries to follow.


De Minimis 800 Rules

De Minimis 800 Rules

It is important to note that CBP retains the right to require a formal entry on any shipment where additional information, bonding or protection is required, regardless of the value of the shipment. Low value shipments can still be denied entry if used for the purpose of avoiding compliance with any pertinent law or regulation.


Ecommerce retailers and consumers in the U.S. should understand that the de minimis threshold applies to a single product shipped across the border on a single day. Low-value shipments cannot be broken down into smaller parts in order to avoid duties, and goods cannot be undervalued so they qualify for de minimis.


Shipments found in violation of the de minimis rules will be subject to a hold by CBP and required a formal entry submission. CBP may also hold future shipments from this particular importer and carrier and request formal entries on any additional shipments.


De Minimis 800 and the eCommerce Boom

De Minimis 800 and the eCommerce Boom

Even before the increase in de minimis value, CBP reported that ecommerce was driving up the number of express consignment billings, with a nearly 50 percent increase in international packages in the last five years and a 300 percent increase in international mail. By 2017, CBP was processing over 500 million international mail shipments.


Agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are looking at ways to expand the de minimis coverage to other low-value goods. Part of the discussions during the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was the exploration of a possible uniform de minimis value for the U.S., Mexico and Canada to level the playing field for businesses.


Other countries are also exploring ways to give foreign sellers the benefits of a higher de minimis value in exchange for trade compliance. These trusted trader programs aim to allow low-value shipments while increasing security and reducing potential counterfeiting,


Effects of the De Minimis Increase


According to CBP, the increased de minimis value caused a dramatic rise in volume of shipments making use of de minimis entry procedures, which require fewer data elements to be submitted by the importer and carrier.


Just-in-time deliveries, online payments and contract manufacturing have given sellers more flexibility and greater access to foreign markets. Companies receiving goods in the U.S. now play critical roles in how low value shipments move around the world. In addition, free trade agreements have allowed new routes for foreign goods to enter the U.S. more easily.


Section 321 Release & De Minimis 800

Section 321 Release & De Minimis 800

Currently, CBP requires importers and carriers to submit electronic data in advance of the cargo’s arrival in the U.S. in all modes of transport. For air shipments, carriers are required to transmit a part of their data earlier in the process. For ocean shipments, CBP requires importers and carriers to submit additional data, on top of the data required by the Trade Act regulations, before the cargo is brought to the United States.


Informal entries (shipments not exceeding $2,500 in value including Section 321) require fewer data elements. To clear Section 321, importers must submit the bill of lading or a manifest listing each bill of lading containing the following:


(1) country of origin of the merchandise

(2) shipper name, address, and country

(3) ultimate consignee name and address

(4) specific description of the merchandise

(5) quantity

(6) shipping weight

(7) value


Carriers don’t usually have all the information about a Section 321 shipment such as the package contents, shipment originator and final destination. The “shipper” listed on the informal entry and eManifest for Section 321 shipments is likely not the actual seller but a third party who handles shipping for multiple businesses. In short, the information that CBP receives does not identify the party (seller or manufacturer) causing the shipment to cross the border, the final recipient or the contents of the parcel.


To address the information gap and other issues, CBP has launched the ecommerce data pilot in 2019 for collecting data from a variety of participants, including consolidators and fulfillment centers that have previously operated outside of the customs clearance process.


De Minimis 800: GeTS eCommerce Managed Services

De Minimis 800: GeTS eCommerce Managed Services

GeTS eCommerce Managed Services is a great way for shippers to clear Section 321 shipments in the same manner as using an express facility. GeTS offers more airport clearance than any other Express Consignment Carrier Facility (ECCF) through four airports (LAX, SFO, JFK and ATL) as well as competitive pricing.


To learn more, visit our section 321 and de minimis 800 page or contact us today!




Related Pages:

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What Importers Need to Know About Section 321 Entry Type 86

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GeTS FDA Prior Notice

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Benefits that Enterprises Gain from Automated Commercial Environment US

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Truck Section 321 eManifest Requirements from U.S. CBP


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