President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday aimed at preventing counterfeit products from abroad from being sold online in the U.S.
With the order, the United States Government aims at protecting consumers, intellectual property rights holders, businesses, and workers from counterfeit goods, narcotics (including synthetic opioids such as fentanyl), and other contraband now being introduced into the United States as a result of the recent growth in e-commerce. The United States Government is also trying to protect the revenue of the United States from individuals and entities who evade customs duties, taxes, and fees.
The Department of Homeland Security will examine whether the U.S. government is collecting enough fees to cover the cost of processing and inspecting parcels entering the U.S. The administration will also develop rules to determine whether the postal services of foreign governments are doing enough to protect the U.S. from counterfeit shipments. In addition, the U.S. will draft regulations intended to pressure e-commerce sites to do more to identify sellers of counterfeit or illegal goods.
Within 90 days from the date of the order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with USPS, shall submit to the U.S. President a report on any appropriate measures the Federal Government could take, including negotiating with international posts, to prevent the importation or attempted importation into the United States through the international postal network of shipments containing goods, when such importation or attempted importation is known to have been facilitated by any person who may not obtain an importer of record number.
Presidential trade adviser Peter Navarro urged Amazon, Walmart and digital commerce sites to take steps to ensure that the goods they sell are safe and legal.
A Walmart spokesman said in a statement that the company takes reports of counterfeit goods very seriously and works proactively to prevent them.
“In the rare case that someone reports what they believe is a counterfeit item, we quickly block the item and then investigate promptly,” the Walmart statement said. “Today, we only see this on a very small fraction of less than one percent of total items available for sale on Walmart.com.”
Trump has been examining examine the business practices of Amazon, who the president has accused of “scamming” the U.S. Postal Service through low-cost package delivery. Trump has expressed frequent frustration with Jeff Bezos over news coverage by Washington Post, which the Amazon founder also owns.