June 14, 2023

Cassidy, Baldwin Introduce Bill to Stop China from Taking Advantage of Lax U.S. Trade Laws

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today introduced the De Minimis Reciprocity Act of 2023 to stop Communist China and other countries from abusing U.S. trade laws that allow small dollar imports into the U.S. duty free. The bill would bar Chinese exports from entry via the expedited “de minimis” channel and reduce the threshold for duty-free imports into the U.S. to an amount that matches the threshold our trade partners use, ensuring reciprocity and increasing transparency at our borders. 

“Our customs laws are outdated. 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.”

“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 the illicit drugs like fentanyl from coming into the country, and help ensure Americans are not supporting goods made with forced labor.”

The de minimis threshold, or the value under which duties are waived, is currently set at $800 for all goods coming into the U.S. This means any import that has a claimed value of less than $800 can enter U.S. markets duty-free and with little customs scrutiny.

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.    

U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) signed onto the bill as an original co-sponsor.