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Backtracking On Cross-border Trade For Small Businesses

February 20, 2019

eBay has always advocated for reducing cross border trade barriers to help enable seamless transactions for small businesses and consumers alike.  High de minimis thresholds are one of the most important elements for facilitating global transactions so that they do not get unnecessarily held up at borders or face tax and duty collection. Congress took a big step toward this goal when it passed legislation in 2016 to raise the U.S. de minimis threshold from $200 to $800 in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. Not only did this help buyers and sellers alike, it sent an important message to countries around the world that the U.S. is engaged as a leader in ecommerce.

Unfortunately, the U.S. de minimis threshold and the certainty that it brings for buyers and sellers is under threat. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) sent a report to Congress detailing changes to U.S. law needed to implement the new trade agreement negotiated between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The report includes language that could result in a reduced U.S. de minimis threshold. Lowering the U.S. de minimis threshold would mean a huge step backward for ecommerce policy. It would mean more delays at the border, higher prices for buyers, and more costly and cumbersome international returns for U.S. sellers. Fortunately, Congress agrees… bipartisan letters from the House of Representatives and the Senate have called on USTR to reject this policy and maintain U.S. leadership in setting policy that makes sense for consumers and small businesses.

eBay Government Relations will continue pushing for trade policies that help our buyers and sellers succeed on our platform and will continue to keep you updated on our progress.