Congressman Bill Owens announced this week he has joined a bipartisan effort between the House and Senate to increase the threshold at which low-value shipments can enter the United States free from tariffs, also known as a "de minimis" threshold. Owens is an original co-sponsor of the "Low Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act of 2013 (H.R. 1020)," legislation increasing the de minimis threshold to $800 and indexing it to inflation in future years. Legislation addressing de minimis thresholds has been introduced in the Senate as well (S. 489).
"Increased de minimis thresholds will help promote increased trade across the Northern border, spurring new economic activity at New York's border crossings and throughout the region," Owens said. "This would be a positive step for Northern Border communities and small businesses that import from Canada, and I am hopeful it will stimulate business development and job growth if enacted."
The current $200 de minimis threshold on goods crossing the border was established in 1993 and has not been adjusted for inflation in twenty years. Raising de minimis thresholds to $800 would also free Customs Officers to focus on higher priority security concerns and better allocate limited resources.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) praised the initiative as a positive effort on behalf of trade and economic development.
"Raising de minimis levels helps foster trade, and the jobs and economic growth that come with it," said Laura Lane, President of UPS Global Public Affairs. "It will also reinforce efforts to raise de minimis levels globally, which is particularly timely with Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations occurring this week in Singapore."
Congressman Owens sponsored similar legislation in previous years. Owens is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, which focuses on issues related to trade, security and economic development along the U.S.-Canadian Border.