Close the postal security loophole

On the surface, counterfeit goods pose a minor nuisance – a cheap bag made of fake leather that falls apart, or a phone charger that only works for a week. But these products, often sold at bargain basement prices, create a tangible risk for countless Americans every day. While e-commerce has changed the way we shop, it has opened the floodgates for deceptive goods that threaten consumer health and safety – not to mention serious economic damage for American businesses.

At a recent White House press briefing, Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway spoke of how this discrepancy creates a security loophole, saying “our third-party carriers have been [providing security data] for a long time — your UPS, your FedEx, for example. And so, now, our own U.S. Postal Service needs to get on board with that.” And a recent report from the United States Senate Finance Committee specifically highlighted the importance of enforcing the STOP Act to address counterfeits, noting that the data it requires is “useful to target and prevent counterfeit goods.”

Yet although the STOP Act set strict timelines for implementing new standards, more than a year since its passage federal agencies continue to miss its key deadlines. While the U.S. Postal Service and Customs and Border Protection were required to have advance data on all packages from China and on 70% of international packages overall by December 2018, they have repeatedly fallen short. Meanwhile, critical reports to Congress on compliance and progress are not public. In the White House briefing, Conway cited numbers ranging from 35% to 38% compliance — nowhere near what is required nor what is needed to keep the country secure.

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