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Customs brokers caught in US crackdown on Chinese e-commerce trafficking

Customs brokers caught in US crackdown on Chinese e-commerce trafficking


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By Alex Lennane 05/30/2024

A crackdown by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and a large seizure of goods has led some Chinese e-commerce sellers to suspend air charter operations in the country, according to industry sources.

The CBP seizure, estimated at around 1,000 tons of goods, has made some Chinese shippers nervous.

A charter broker says a Chinese e-commerce customer “walked away” from a planned charter flight, concerned about further confiscations.

The crackdown on e-commerce imports has also led to the recent suspension of six customs brokers, including Seko Logistics.

Seko's participation in the Entry Type 86 was suspended on Monday for 90 days, until August 24.

Entry type 86 allows the importation of goods into the United States without payment of duties and taxes, if the value of the shipment is less than $800, the de minimis threshold.

We are incredibly disappointed by this unfortunate decision, Seko told customers in a note seen by The Loadstar.

During its participation in the Entry Type 86 program, it recorded an exceptionally high compliance rate of 99.999%, he said and added: Seko has always sought to comply and work in partnership with the US CBP to address any concerns they raised.

Despite our extraordinary compliance rate, less than seven days before the suspension took effect, we had no opportunity to address any deficiencies.

We strongly disagree with this decision…and intend to push for his reinstatement as soon as possible.

He told customers it would be helpful to try to minimize disruption to their business.

Meanwhile, sources close to the matter confirmed to The Loadstar that a large seizure had been made and, although they refused to make it public, they said it involved shipments from Shein.

Additionally, they noted that some of the major retail brands were also facing issues with textile shipments passing through Los Angeles. And one import broker said there were two big problems at the Los Angeles airport.

The first is that customs discovers numerous drugs, fentanyl and drug manufacturing tools in e-commerce shipments. The second concerns shippers who declare the value of the goods to be less than $800, the amount an individual can bring back.

The source also suggested that at least two Asian airlines had their shipments suspended daily in Los Angeles. One broker also revealed that it is now considering importing e-commerce products through Canada and then trucking them across the border, although Canada may face disruptions in the coming weeks, as The Loadstar reports today.

A Chinese e-commerce freight forwarder told The Loadstar it was fairly common for the US to confiscate goods, but normally this would not disrupt shipping plans.

At the same time, another US source suggested there was a much bigger problem around importing goods from China: those bigger things were related to textiles, where there have been concerns about forced labor, they said, but they would not be asked to provide information. More details.

The recent Loadstars series on e-commerce explored potential problems in the trans-Pacific and Sino-European e-commerce market, where authorities are considering sanctions against fast fashion; re-examination of de minimis thresholds; and the competitive threat posed by cheaper Chinese imports to local businesses




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