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EU Proposes Import Duty on Chinese Retailers Temu and Shein

The EU intends to levy customs tariffs on Chinese internet retailers such as Temu, Shein, and AliExpress. The existing duty-free threshold of 150 euros may be eliminated. The spike in low-cost imports has spurred the EU to consider expediting customs reform.

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The EU plans to suggest the elimination of the current 150 euros (US$161) threshold, under which items can be purchased duty-free.

Currently, EU regulations state that packages bought online from non-EU countries are exempt from customs duties if their value is below 150 euros. However, the sheer volume of e-commerce and the influx of two billion parcels with a declared value of less than 150 euros in 2023 have put a strain on customs operations, prompting the EU to consider scrapping the limit.

The EU has been discussing the elimination of the threshold as part of a customs reform project proposed in May 2023. However, the spike in low-cost imports has spurred the EU to potentially speed up the reform's implementation.

Shein, one of the targeted merchants, expressed support for the revision, saying, "We are fully supportive of efforts by lawmakers to reform the de minimis provision." However, Alibaba, the parent firm of AliExpress, Temu, and the EU did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

Critics in the United States have already expressed worry about Shein and Temu, accusing them of abusing import tax breaks to undercut competitors and escape customs inspections. This method enables the companies to sell dresses for as little as $8 and smartwatches for $25 to customers globally.

  • EU plans to impose customs duties on Chinese online retailers, including Temu, Shein, and AliExpress.

  • The current 150 euros threshold for duty-free purchases may be eliminated.

  • The surge in cheap imports has prompted the EU to potentially expedite the adoption of customs reform.


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