European Union is Preparing Import Duties on China’s Temu, Shein and AliExpress

Temu and Shein (Photo: Shutterstock)

The European Union is preparing to impose customs duties on inexpensive goods purchased from Chinese online retailers such as Temu, Shein, and AliExpress, according to a report by the Financial Times on Wednesday, which cited three informed sources.

The European Commission plans to propose eliminating the current 150 euros ($161) threshold under which items can be bought duty-free later this month, the report stated.

Under current EU regulations, packages purchased online from non-EU countries are exempt from customs duties if their value is under 150 euros.

In 2023, two billion parcels with a declared value of less than 150 euros arrived in the EU from outside countries, according to the Commission, which noted that “the sheer volumes of e-commerce are testing customs’ limits.”

European Union Flag

The EU has been discussing the removal of this limit as part of a customs reform project proposed by the Commission in May 2023, but it may now expedite its adoption to counter the influx of cheap imports, the FT report mentioned.

“We are fully supportive of efforts by lawmakers to reform the de minimis provision,” a spokesperson for Shein said. AliExpress parent Alibaba, Temu, and the European Union did not immediately respond.

Critics of Shein and Temu in the United States have already raised concerns that they exploit import tax exemptions to undercut competitors and avoid customs inspections of their products.

This practice enables the two companies to offer dresses for as little as $8 and smartwatches for $25 to shoppers worldwide.

Jessica Smith
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