E-commerce giants like Amazon, Shein, and countless others choose to do business in China because the country promises cheap labor, a gross disregard for environmental regulation, and the use of inexpensive, low-quality materials. The United States not only suffers because of this practice but incentivizes it through trade laws that can easily be exploited.
One of the most serious loopholes is known as the de minimis exemption, which allows goods valued under $800 to be shipped from abroad directly to consumers in America without taxes, tariffs, or rigorous border inspection.
As a result, American manufactures are put at an economic disadvantage against international e-commerce retailers who exploit this loophole to evade taxes and tariffs by splitting up their shipments into packages valued below the $800 limit. And while the United States allows goods from China valued up to $800 to avoid taxes, tariffs, and oversight, China doesn’t offer our businesses the same deal, making it even harder for American manufacturers to compete in a market where Chinese businesses are heavily subsidized by their government.
And this loophole is not just an economic disgrace. It also allows Chinese goods to evade oversight at the border, making it impossible to discern if products flooding into our homes were made from forced labor by ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang region or contain toxic materials that are otherwise dangerous to consumers.
Later this week, the House will vote on my legislation to stop China from further abusing the de minimis threshold and endangering American businesses and consumers alike.
My legislation is a commonsense policy that meets the needs of American workers while protecting consumers from inadvertently supporting forced labor and dangerous manufacturing practices.
In the coming days, Republicans and Democrats alike will have the opportunity to show they are pro-human rights, pro-environment, and pro-worker by going on the record when the bill is voted on. I will continue to fight to ensure American businesses, workers, and consumers are treated fairly internationally and protected from bad actors abroad.