EFA is Concerned by Moves to Remove/Reduce the de Minibus Rule for Customs Duties in the EU and USA
Years ago, UN agencies set up a system to ensure that customs duties for low-value goods would be waived and that the documentation requirements would minimalised. This has greatly assisted African ecommerce companies to sell into the Developed world. Mainly this is used for B2C sales, but some B2B also benefits. The de minibus rule has been particularly generous for products imported into the USA. Any shipment of up to $900 in value does not pay customs duties. Some member states of the EU also set generous levels, but the EU has now harmonised the amount at 150 Euros. Now we understand the EU may intend to scrap the system altogether. EFA has written to our colleague in the EU (Ecommerce Europe) to enlist their help. In the USA, Senator Cassidy (Republican) has introduced a new trade bill which would require reciprocity of the exporting country for any de minimis to be offered. In addition to an administrative nightmare, this would not benefit imports from most Africa nations. For example, in SA customs allows a consumer to import goods of up to R400 by mail twice a year without paying customs duties. Reciprocity would therefore reduce the de minibus allowance for SA ecommerce’s imports to the USA to less than $25 in value per shipment, compared to $900 per shipment today.
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