Article updated February 24, 2016
Today, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 into law. The long-awaited customs reauthorization law increases the U.S. de minimis threshold, urges other countries to do the same, and modernizes customs rules to allow U.S. sellers to accept retail returns duty-free.
The new customs law raises the U.S. de minimis level from $200 to $800, an overdue step that will benefit technology-enabled small and medium-sized businesses by reducing cost, paperwork, and streamlining the movement of goods. This increase eases frictions to cross border retail caused by outdated customs systems. Moreover, many of eBay’s U.S. sellers accepting returns from foreign buyers have had to pay duty on returned items. This law now enables U.S. based retailers to accept returned items from international buyers without paying duty when those items re-enter the U.S.
eBay’s Head of Americas Government Relations David London asserts, “This law – specifically the inclusion of the de minimis language and the retail returns language – will change how cross border retail is transacted, and improve the landscape for small ecommerce businesses that export.”
Although the Congressional debate of the customs bill had implications for small ecommerce businesses on the Internet sales tax front, eBay believes this much-needed Customs Reauthorization law is a victory for small ecommerce businesses.
To learn more about how small businesses on eBay are accessing the global marketplace, click here.