Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Note: Today, the Trump administration published its annual “Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.” Several Amazon websites were added to the “Notorious” list. Public Citizen has called for the president to exercise his existing authority to close a loophole, called the de minimis waiver, that results in most imported goods purchased by consumers online skirting normal U.S. Customs and Consumer Product Safety Commission inspections. Public Citizen testified on the subject at a recent hearing of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, more than 1 million express air packages were arriving daily from China alone without inspection, according to a recent Department of Homeland Security study.
USTR’s Notorious Markets report again spotlights that consumers are being threatened by fake, dangerous goods purchased on online marketplaces, so why won’t the president use the robust authority that he has to close the ‘de minimis’ loophole that now permits most shipments of goods bought online to skirt any inspection?
Since the administration started raising concerns about so many goods purchased online being in violation of U.S. trade law and being dangerous counterfeits, no action has been taken to require systematic inspection of such goods or to exclude goods on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s high-risk list from the ‘de minimis’ waiver, which allows packages of imported goods valued at less than $800 skirt normal Customs data requirements and dodge all inspection.