Recent Press Releases

Thune and Wyden Reintroduce Bill to Reduce Trade Barriers

“Current import policies on low-value shipments are outdated and need to be modernized”

February 12, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, today reintroduced legislation that would reduce current trade barriers and allow for more low-value items to be imported into the United States duty-free with fewer unnecessary administrative requirements. Thune and Wyden’s bill, the “Low Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act of 2015” would raise the current $200 de minimis exemption level on imported items up to $800.

“Trade is essential for the American economy, and it’s imperative that Congress continue to find ways to reduce existing trade barriers,” said Thune. “Current import policies on low-value shipments are outdated and need to be modernized for the benefit of American consumers and for small businesses, which increasingly use the Internet to access global markets. Goods shipped to American consumers should be treated the same way as goods carried on a plane to the United States by American travelers. Senator Wyden and I look forward to working with our colleagues to get this bill through the Finance Committee and across the Senate floor.”

“Arbitrary and anachronistic customs rules that harm American consumers are a serious problem for the digital economy and all small businesses,” said Wyden. “An Oregonian who carries goods on a plane shouldn’t face different rules than if she buys them online and has them shipped home. Senator Thune and I have long worked together to find ways to keep the United States as the global leader in innovation and digital trade, and this bill is an important step in that direction. I look forward to working with Senator Thune to find a path forward on this bill very soon.”

The $200 exemption for imports, last raised in 1993, has not been updated in over 20 years. However, in 2002, Congress increased the exemption for travelers returning to the United States from abroad from $400 to $800. The Thune-Wyden bill also includes a Sense of Congress that the United States Trade Representative should work with other nations to ensure that other countries raise their de minimis levels for United States exports.