Senate Lawmakers Issue ‘Urgent Request’ to President Biden to Close De Minimis ‘Loophole’

Two U.S. senators penned an “urgent request” to President Joe Biden this weekend, pushing for the use of executive authority to end the de minimis trade “loophole.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Oh.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.) on Saturday sent an open letter to the president asking him to end duty-free treatment for e-commerce shipments worth under $800-an exemption created by Section 321 of the Tariff Act.

According to the lawmakers, the rule is being exploited to facilitate “the import of illegal products, goods produced with forced labor, and other contraband to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers, workers and communities.” De minimis doesn’t just provide foreign shippers with financial benefits, they argued-it also allows bad actors to circumvent customs enforcement, as individual packages of lower value often enter the country “with minimal to zero inspections.”

The legislators said that Chinese goods made with forced labor “appear to be the heaviest users of de minimis, undermining enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).” About 3 million parcels enter the country each day using the de minimis rule, and they pose an “elevated risk” of being made with forced labor, containing counterfeit products or contributing to the fentanyl crisis, as drugs have been smuggled in small, low-value shipments.

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