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The EU’s Proposal to Drop its “de Minimis” Rule Opposed by the EFA

On the other worrying customs duty issue, the EU proposed mid-2023 to drop the rule that allows goods valued at less than Euro150 into the Union duty free – this is the so-called de minimis rule. Many African SME online exporters to the EU benefit from this system and EFA submitted its views to the EU pointing out the great damage such a proposal would cause to African SMEs. Unfortunately, the Chinese ecommerce companies Shien, Temu and others have abused the rule by importing small packages, all at under Euro150. The USA is also considering removing its de minimis rule (the US offers importers duty free imports of up to $800 in value). Our colleagues at the Ecommerce Europe association asked the European Commission if it could not share any information at a recent meeting on the EU’s Custom’s Reform, but the EU could only say that the negotiators are looking into the feasibility and practicalities of discussing the changes proposed to the Import One Stop Shop under the “VAT in the Digital Age” (ViDA) legislative proposal in the context of the Customs Reform. This would require a careful approach and a thoughtful compromise during the ViDA negotiations, which are expected to be completed in May at the last ECOFIN meeting before the EU Parliament Elections. EFA will continue to press for the EU to abandon its plans to drop the de minimis rule.

Alastair Tempest

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