Interest Groups Praise House's de Minimis Proposal, Other Aspects of China Bill
The AFL-CIO said the House version of the China package "includes critically important fixes" to the Senate's trade title, including removing finished products from the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, changes to antidumping and countervailing duty law, and the change to de minimis, which "would halt China’s exploitation of US de minimis policy."
"Passage of the House’s America COMPETES Act will provide critical and overdue enhancements to America’s global competitive capabilities, support workers whose jobs are lost to trade, and protect and expand the tools to fight foreign unfair trade," the trade unions said Jan. 31. They also criticized the element of the Senate bill that would reopen the exclusion process, which they said "would unnecessarily tie the administration’s hands with regard to China tariffs."
The AFL-CIO was also a signatory to a Jan. 28 letter from unions, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the Coalition for a Prosperous America and domestic textile producers asking House and Senate majority and minority leaders to prioritize the changes to de minimis.
"De minimis treatment was never meant to be a major avenue of international commerce. It is an administrative provision to ensure customs officers do not waste government resources performing tariff assessments on items of trivial value. If a shipment falls below the de minimis threshold, then that shipment passes ports free of taxes or tariffs, and with little chance of scrutiny," they wrote. They said that CBP's director for intellectual property rights and e-commerce justified the Section 321 data pilot because CBP does not have as much data for small value packages "to effectively identify and target high-risk shipments, including for narcotics, counter-proliferation, and health and safety risks."
The letter's writers say "these de minimis shipments supercharge forced labor supply chains, hurting U.S. workers and our free trade partners, and flooding the U.S. with counterfeits and products that fail to meet health and safety standards."
They said that in the previous fiscal year, CBP reported that 90% of seizures for intellectual property violations were either in express or international mail, and 83% of IPR seizures were shipped from China.
"While some may claim otherwise, the truth is that the United States is under no international obligation to extend the same de minimis threshold to the whole world. Just like our preferential tariffs for some trading partners, we maintain varying degrees of customs facilitation with a host of different nations," they wrote.