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Baldwin, Cassidy Introduce Bill to Stop China from Exploiting Loophole that Undercuts U.S. Manufacturers, Allows Fentanyl in U.S.

Trade tax loophole has allowed China and other countries to import cheap products made by slave labor or illicit drugs into the U.S. without proper inspection

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) introduced the De Minimis Reciprocity Act of 2023 to close a trade loophole that is allowing China and other countries to undercut American manufacturers, let products made by slave labor get in the hands of U.S. consumers, and bring in illicit drugs like fentanyl into the country. Currently, small-dollar imports with a value of less than $800 are allowed into the U.S. duty-free and with little customs scrutiny. However, the $800 de minimis threshold, or the value under which duties are waived, has been abused, letting China send hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products into the U.S. market, undermining U.S. manufacturers and letting illicit substances into our communities.

The bipartisan De Minimis Reciprocity Act of 2023 would bar Chinese imports from exploiting customs procedures that allow duty-free entry into the U.S. Additionally, the bill would reduce the de minimis thresholds for other trade partners to levels that match their policy for U.S. exports to their country.

“A trade loophole is allowing Chinese companies to import goods in the U.S. with no oversight – letting them bring in cheap, counterfeit goods that undercut American manufactures and traffic drugs into our communities,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bipartisan bill will close this loophole to create a level playing field for our Made in America manufactures, curb illicit drugs like fentanyl from coming into the country, and help ensure Americans are not supporting goods made with forced labor.”

 “Our customs laws are outdated, and China is taking advantage of that by importing billions of dollars of cheap goods into the U.S. with no oversight,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill will allow U.S. manufacturers to compete fairly for U.S. store shelves and counter those who wish to use our trade system to launder money or smuggle counterfeits and drugs.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Senator JD Vance (R-OH).

The De Minimis Reciprocity Act would also:

  • Exclude untrustworthy countries from using the ‘trusted’ de minimis channel.
  • Only allow express carriers to facilitate de minimis imports into the U.S. to help better at stop counterfeits and fentanyl at the border.
  • Require more information on every package entering the U.S.
  • Use the revenue proceeds to establish a fund for reshoring industry from China.