Schakowsky, Duncan Introduce Legislation to Protect Online Shoppers from Unsafe and Counterfeit Goods

September 1, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Last Friday, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, and Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Enhancement Act, H.R. 8134. This bill would give the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the power to prevent unsafe and counterfeit products from entering the United States, protecting consumers in the United States.

Specifically, this bill will direct the CPSC to identify consumer products entering the United States that are most likely to violate consumer product safety statutes and regulations. It would increase the CPSC’s ability to target and risk assess shipments of consumer products entering the United States under the de minimis value exemption.  Currently, the CPSC does not have necessary data or staffing to risk assess, target, and screen de minimis shipments entering the United States. The bill would also require, not later than two years after the date of enactment, the electronic filing of certificates of compliance for all consumer products intended to enter the United States.

“The COVID-19 health crisis has made Americans more reliant on e-commerce sites for consumer goods, and has laid bare how little many of these sites are doing to protect their customers from unsafe and counterfeit goods. That’s why I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Consumer Product Safety Inspection Enhancement Act with my friend and colleague Jeff Duncan,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “This legislation would, for the first time in more than a decade, strengthen and modernize  Consumer Product Safety Commission. It does by empowering the agency to collect critical data and directing resources and staff to identify and prevent dangerous e-commerce shipments from entering the country.  These uninspected products currently put all Americans, particularly children, at risk, and undermine legitimate American businesses interests. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this important bipartisan legislation.”

“The Consumer Product Safety Inspection Enhancement Act enhances the CPSC’s ability to work with the CBP to crack down on nefarious importers, like China, who violate our nation’s intellectual property rights and safety regulations. Now more than ever, we need to do all we can to protect American consumers from bad actors sending dangerous and counterfeit goods into our country. I’m honored to lead this effort with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and we are hopeful this bipartisan effort will move forward this Congress,” said Congressman Duncan.

The Consumer Product Safety Inspection Enhancement Act is supported by trade associations and consumer advocacy organizations, including The Toy Association and Public Citizen.

“The Toy Association has long been supportive of government initiatives to improve the targeting and screening of consumer products at ports of entry and the seizure of infringing goods. The de minimis exemption cannot be an exemption from regulatory compliance; yet the sheer number of small parcel shipments entering the country has resulted in massive challenges to effective enforcement at the borders. That said, The Toy Association strongly believes that enhanced targeting and enforcement must come with additional resources for the already underfunded – yet critically important – CPSC,” said Steve Pasierb, President & Chief Executive of The Toy Association.

“This bill provides a vital update, allocating consumer safety inspectors to critical locations where currently millions of potentially unsafe and/or fake goods enter our country every day via e-commerce purchases without even a cursory safety check,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen.