A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday that would eliminate a tariff exemption that is widely used by e-commerce sellers to send orders from China to US shoppers.

The exemption, known as the de minimis rule, currently exempts imports valued at $800 or less from tariffs if the items are shipped to individual consumers. The proposed bill would ban such shipments from China immediately upon enactment.

The bill’s sponsors, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy and Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, said the exemption is being exploited by Chinese e-commerce companies to avoid paying tariffs and import illegal items, such as those made with forced Uyghur labor.

“This bill will level the playing field for American businesses and protect American consumers from unsafe products,” Cassidy said in a statement.

The bill has been met with mixed reactions from the e-commerce industry. Some companies, such as Shein, have said they would comply with the new rules if they are passed. Others, such as Temu, have said the bill would harm consumers by making it more expensive to buy goods from China.

The bill is still in its early stages, and it is unclear if it will be passed by Congress. However, if it is, it would represent a significant change in US trade policy with China.

Here are some additional details from the article:

  • The bill would only allow private shippers like FedEx, UPS, and DHL to transport de minimis packages. This would exclude postal services, such as the US Postal Service.
  • The bill would not apply to countries other than China and Russia. These countries could keep the de minimis exemption if they adopt the $800 threshold for their own tariff-free imports.


Source: www.reuters.com Katherine Masters