November 20,2014

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Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless, 202.224.4515

Wyden, Hatch Say New GAO Report Demonstrates Need to Improve Trade Enforcement at the Border

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, today issued the following statement regarding a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that found certain procedures used by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to admit goods and products into the U.S to be inefficient and out-of-date:    

“As the gatekeepers of our borders, it is vital CBP work to enforce the trade laws that were designed to shield American innovators from imports that infringe their patents. But, as we learned from the GAO, there is clearly more work that needs to be done to better manage these processes and procedures,” the senators said in a joint statement. “We encourage CBP to take steps, including those recommended in this report, and look forward to working with them to make border enforcement of intellectual property rights more efficient and more effective.” 

CBP personnel at all ports of entry are the first line in protecting American companies from infringing products entering the country. GAO found that CBP’s process for enforcing exclusion orders issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission “contains weaknesses that result in inefficiencies and an increased risk of infringing products entering U.S. commerce.” GAO specifically recommended that CBP update its internal guidelines at U.S. ports to ensure CBP is working from the most up-to-date enforcement information and that its personnel are monitoring appropriate products entering the United States.

In the last several years, CBP has enforced Section 337 orders dealing with unfair imports of infringing car parts, cell phone cases, energy drinks, ink cartridges, and sneakers.

Wyden and Hatch requested the report from GAO earlier this year.


Read the GAO report here.