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Addressing Cross Border E-Commerce Challenges with Emerging Technologies




This study would examine how CBP could reengineer the entry process to close the loopholes created by the higher de minimis threshold, ensure incoming e-commerce imports meet product and safety standards, are not counterfeit, and comply with US trade policy.  The proposed efforts are aimed to: investigate and explore potentials of emerging technologies such as distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, and machine learning for addressing the e-commerce challenges that CBP and the global e-commerce stakeholders are faced with. Specifically, through leveraging new technologies, the research plans to target the following topic areas:


  • Integration of support for Customs procedures (e.g., integration of e-commerce data such as globally unique product identifiers based on UPC/GTIN, product classification, tracking of manufacturers and products, COOs, certificates required for review by PGAs) with e-commerce eco-system that comprises e-commerce platforms/operators, international standard organizations (e.g., GS1, UPU, WCO), Customs and cross border regulatory agencies, e-commerce sellers, buyers, carriers, postal service providers including USPS, brokers) to automate and facilitate legitimate flow of e-commerce goods. The e-commerce universe includes the international flow of goods and e-commerce data among the involved parties in e-commerce transactions. ;   
  • Data cooperation among e-commerce operators, sellers, buyers, CBP and government agencies for automation and simplification of e-commerce Customs declaration, assurance of data quality of e-commerce cross border shipment, in particular closing data gaps of international e-commerce shipment (e.g., product identifiers, e-commerce seller information), and increased capability for Customs control on cross border e-commerce and risk based assessment;
  • Harmonized flow of information among e-commerce platforms, Customs, and cross border postal services for improving efficiency, specifically identifying opportunities to enhance UPU – WCO postal data model and data flow related to e-commerce parcel shipment; and
  • Economic analysis of integrating the aforementioned emerging technologies into Customs procedures, including a so-called SWOT(Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis of blockchain and e-commerce.. The primary objective of a SWOT analysis is to help entities, such as government agencies, private sector firms, and consumers, develop awareness of all the factors involved in making a policy, business, or consumer decision, respectively.


To achieve such research goals, the project team will take advantage of the opportunities of new technologies, and the synergy among AI and distributed ledgers.  To ensure project relevancy to CBP priority issues, the team will work closely with the government and private sector stakeholders. The efforts target the e-commerce and operational environment that CBP is facing. When international standards apply, such as UPU – WCO Customs data model and process, analysis may be based on standard definitions (e.g., UPU data messages).