Daily Management Review

Under A Proposed Bill, E-Commerce Exports From China To The US Would No Longer Be Protected From Tariffs


According to one of the sponsors, a bipartisan group of US congressmen intended to present a bill on Wednesday to terminate a tariff exemption that is frequently used by online retailers to ship purchases from China to American customers.
The de minimis rule exception exempts imports with a value of $800 or less from duties if they are sent to individual customers. According to the bill's Republican backer Senator Bill Cassidy, such imports from China would be prohibited immediately once it became law.
The exemption benefits major online retailers including China-based Shein, based in Singapore, and Temu, a competitor owned by PDD Holdings Inc. and running the Chinese e-commerce site Pinduoduo.
The enterprises "exploit" de minimis, according to a federal brief from April, to avoid paying tariffs and import unlawful goods including those produced in China's Xingiang region using forced Uyghur labour.
According to a Shein spokeswoman, the company does not have any producers in Xinjiang. A request for comment from Temu did not receive an instant response.
De minimis shipments have attracted attention at least since 2019, when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that due to the high volume of low-value packages, it was difficult to detect harmful imports. According to data from U.S. customs, such shipments increased to 685.5 million in 2022 from 410.5 million in 2018.
Republican Senator J.D. Vance and Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin are the bill's other sponsors. How much support the initiative would receive was unknown. Last year, Congress rejected a different but related bill by Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer.
By adopting the $800 threshold for their own tariff-free imports, nations other than China and Russia may maintain the exemption under the proposed legislation. Postal services would not be included in the bill's authorization of commercial shippers like FedEx, UPS, and DHL to convey de minimis parcels.