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June 25, 2008 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Implements Online Trade Violation Reporting System

In an unusual and potentially problematic development, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of International Trade recently implemented e-Allegations, an online trade violation reporting system, that will allow individuals to anonymously report suspected violations of customs laws and regulations to CBP.

Under CBP's new e-Allegations system, individuals may report information regarding suspected violations of customs laws, such as misclassification of merchandise, false country of origin markings, health and safety issues, valuation issues and intellectual property rights, via an online form on the CBP website.

According to CBP, the e-Allegations reporting system was established to make it easier for the public to notify CBP of possible trade violations. While CBP has indicated that they will "confidentially research concerns, determine the validity of the allegations and any actions required based on the subsequent review," the system does not require the submitter to provide any identifying or contact information and it is not clear how CBP will be able to distinguish valid from invalid claims.

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