Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) has introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation, H.R. 1020, that would assist both individuals and small businesses by modernizing antiquated U.S customs duty rates. During the 112th Congress, Schock introduced similar legislation that received the support of more than 140 members of the House. The Low Value Shipment Modernization Act, introduced by Schock, was included as part of legislation modernizing the U.S. Customs process introduced by then House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), and has received the support of business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
Presently, the value of all items entering the U.S. are reviewed to determine the regulations, duties, and loads of paperwork that apply. However, despite inflationary growth and the values of the products being imported to the U.S., the rates have not been adjusted since 1998, and in one case not since 1993. The failure to modernize the customs duty rate schedules and levels has led to another cost incurred by small businesses and customers as they are forced to shell over more of their hard earned money for imported products.
"The last time these custom duty rates were adjusted was the same year that Google was founded. That was over 15 years ago, and it is long past time that consideration was given to updating these costly import regulations," said Schock. "Small businesses and Illinoisans alike are searching for ways to reduce costs and save money. One way to accomplish both is by modernizing and streamlining the rates of customs duties. Updating these rates will put in place another mechanism to help lower the cost of production for Illinois small businesses, help create American jobs, and ultimately help provide a much needed jolt to grow and strengthen our economy."
"Congress should be cutting red tape for businesses and encouraging and facilitating trade to help stimulate economic growth," said Thune. "Our common-sense legislation updates the tariff exemption level on imported items, benefiting businesses that are currently saddled with paperwork compliance costs and customs officials who will be able to focus their limited resources on higher risk and higher value items. A higher de minimis level will be especially helpful to small businesses by making it easier to engage in global commerce, thus spurring economic growth and job creation."