AP: Relief May Be in Sight for ‘De Minimis’ Import Imbalance – RVBusiness – Breaking RV Industry News

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from an Associated Press article addressing a topic that was raised in a guest column by Robert Brammer of Stromberg Carlson (“Guest Opinion: We Need a Level Playing Field with China”). In his column, Brammer points out that domestic aftermarket parts and accessories companies such as his are at a disadvantage as millions of packages flood into the U.S. from China tariff-free and with little or no scrutiny under a category dubbed “de minimis.”

As a substitute teacher in her mid-20s, Lindsey Puls was delighted to discover the fashion world of Shein more than 10 years ago, lured in by its super-low prices — with tops selling for a few dollars, dresses under $10, and free shipping on orders over $29, according to an Associated Press report.

Puls, who has a blog called “Have Clothes, Will Travel,” joined other influencers in modeling her low-priced but trendy purchases on social media like Instagram and TikTok, contributing to a surge in popularity for Shein. The company, which was founded in China and sells clothing manufactured there, is now the top fast fashion retailer in the U.S.

“From my experience, they have pretty good designs for the price and extensive varieties,” said Puls, who lives in Shiocton, Wisconsin. “The U.S. is in this phase where ‘more is better.’ Many people want to get as much clothing as money can buy.”

How can stylish imports from the other side of the Pacific be so cheap? The answer has much to do with a trade rule known as the de minimis exception, which allows parcels valued under $800 to enter the U.S. duty-free per person per day.

With the explosion of global online shopping, that rule is now coming under scrutiny. While America’s Gen Z shoppers may celebrate their online bargains, lawmakers from both parties are questioning whether the rule allows manufacturers to avoid tariffs aimed at protecting American companies and bypass laws barring the imports of products made by forced labor, illicit drugs or unsafe materials.

On Thursday, a group of 40 lawmakers asked Homeland Security Secretary Alexander Mayorkas to crack down on the de minimis trade, which they said also facilitates the flow of deadly drugs like fentanyl into the U.S.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, top Democrat on the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee, has introduced legislation to exclude non-market economies like China from the rule. A bill introduced in the Senate would make the practice reciprocal. China, for example, sets the de minimis threshold at about $7.

Click here to read the full Associated Press report.

Source: https://rvbusiness.com/ap-relief-may-be-in-sight-for-de-minimis-import-imbalance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ap-relief-may-be-in-sight-for-de-minimis-import-imbalance