Closing trade enforcement’s biggest loopholes


By Sherrod Brown

U.S. Senate

Unfair foreign competition is a massive problem for Ohio companies, particularly from countries like China, where the government much of the economy.

And our trade laws haven’t kept up with all the ways that foreign competition can cheat and get around the rules.

Right now, packages under $800 are exempted from U.S. duties, taxes, and fees, because the law considers these packages to be of “de minimis” value. And in recent years, the number of packages using this loophole to avoid duties has surged, growing to more than two million packages every single day.

It’s a massive loophole in our trade laws. And it’s hurting Ohio businesses.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 90 percent of all counterfeit seizures occur via international mail and express. And in 2020, 44 percent of all goods seizures came from China.

Tariffs are implemented to counter China and protect American manufacturers. This loophole is a backdoor way for foreign competition to ship goods into the U.S. without paying those tariffs.

Competitors will often split large shipments into numerous small packages in an effort to cheat the rules and evade the duties they owe. This gives foreign companies an unfair competitive advantage.

That’s why I’m introducing legislation that will close this loophole and will protect Ohio businesses and their workers.

My bill, the Import Security and Fairness Act, would ban goods from countries with Non-Market Economies, like China, from using this “de minimus” exception to get out of paying the duties and fees that we’ve put in place to level the playing field with American businesses. .

Ohio workers should not be forced to compete with foreign competitors that cheat. And our trade laws can only protect Ohio workers and Ohio businesses if they aren’t riddled with loopholes.

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