U.S. Risks Lagging Behind as China Requires Advance Electronic Security Data On All International Packages Shipped to and from China Post

As U.S. national security officials work to stem the flow of synthetic opioids in international mail, China implements a new mandate to keep its population safe

Washington, D.C. (December 11, 2018) – China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) has enacted a new law, No. 164, requiring advance electronic security information – including sender and recipient names, detailed addresses, quantity, weight and monetary value of contents – on all international packages shipped to and from China Post. China imposed the new requirement just weeks after President Trump signed the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act into law to curb the flow of synthetic opioids into the United States.

Enacted as part of a broader opioids package in late October, the STOP Act mandates the U.S. Postal Service submit advance electronic data (AED) on at least 70 percent of all inbound international packages and 100 percent of packages shipped to the U.S. from China by December 31, 2018.  While the implementation of China’s GAC 164 pushes the United States closer to meeting this critical deadline, U.S. law enforcement agencies must work to ensure the information provided by China Post is comprehensive, accurate and sufficient to effectively keep deadly materials out of our country.

China’s implementation of GAC 164 comes as U.S. national security officials face mounting pressure to close an international postal security loophole that’s fueling the deadliest drug crisis in U.S history. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently reported that illicit synthetic opioids “trafficked into the United States primarily from China and Mexico” are causing more U.S. overdose deaths than any other drug, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found U.S. life expectancy has declined as a result of the epidemic. Furthermore, as the USPS Inspector General identified postal networks as the preferred shipping method for trafficking drugs into the U.S., and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently said “much of the fentanyl is still coming from China through the mail,” it’s evident our federal agencies must do more to keep illicit drugs out of our country. Just this month, China took another positive step forward in pledging to curb fentanyl production, which President Trump said could be a “game changer” in the fight against the epidemic.

“Deadly drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil are weapons of mass destruction, and we must take every possible action to cut them off,” said Governor Tom Ridge, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “China has taken a step forward toward making the global postal system more secure. Now the U.S. must comply with the law it has just passed. Comprehensive AED is vital to keeping Americans safe and keeping deadly drugs and other dangerous material away from our families and out of our communities.

“When it comes to national security, the United States has always set the standard,” said Juliette Kayyem, senior advisor to Americans for Securing All Packages. “It’s exciting to see China enacting these measures, and that gives the U.S. all the more reason to fulfill our obligations under the STOP Act. Our top priority must now be ensuring the AED we receive is of the highest quality needed to keep Americans safe, regardless of its country of origin.”