Customs Automation:

Cargo Examinations Targeted by Automated Cargo Selectivity System

IMTEC-89-59: Published: Jun 27, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the cargo selectivity module of the Customs Service's Automated Commercial System to determine the module's effectiveness in targeting U.S. imports for examination.

GAO found that: (1) the cargo selectivity system processed information pertaining to imports and recommended intensive examination of shipments through random selection, comparison with criteria designed to identify shipments most at risk for violating regulations, and historical review of previous entries for first-time importers; (2) Customs filed over 7 million entries through the cargo selectivity system during fiscal year 1988 and the first quarter of 1989; (3) Customs inspectors subsequently performed intensive inspections of 14 percent of those entries; (4) of the 980,000 inspected shipments, 43.5 percent met the system's selectivity criteria, 31.9 percent resulted from inspector overrides of the system's recommendation, 23.2 percent resulted from first-time importers, and 4.9 percent were the system's random selections; (5) examinations resulting from inspector overrides identified the highest proportion of discrepancies than any of the other triggers for intensive examination; and (6) system recommendations accounted for 33 percent of the 4,481 major commercial seizures of cargo, valued at over $265 million, Customs performed during FY 1988 and the first quarter of 1989.

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