Aaron Schock

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Schock Introduces Legislation to Keep Illinois Competitive

Leads Bipartisan - Bicameral Effort to Modernize Costly Import Regulations

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Washington, Mar 7, 2013 | comments
Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) has introduced bipartisan and bicameral legislation, H.R. 1020, that would assist both individuals and small businesses by modernizing antiquated U.S customs duty rates. During the 112th Congress, Schock introduced similar legislation that received the support of more than 140 members of the House. The Low Value Shipment Modernization Act, introduced by Schock, was included as part of legislation modernizing the U.S. Customs process introduced by then House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), and has received the support of business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.  

Presently, the value of all items entering the U.S. are reviewed to determine the regulations, duties, and loads of paperwork that apply. However, despite inflationary growth and the values of the products being imported to the U.S., the rates have not been adjusted since 1998, and in one case not since 1993. The failure to modernize the customs duty rate schedules and levels has led to another cost incurred by small businesses and customers as they are forced to shell over more of their hard earned money for imported products.

“The last time these custom duty rates were adjusted was the same year that Google was founded. That was over 15 years ago, and it is long past time that consideration was given to updating these costly import regulations,” said Schock. “Small businesses and Illinoisans alike are searching for ways to reduce costs and save money. One way to accomplish both is by modernizing and streamlining the rates of customs duties. Updating these rates will put in place another mechanism to help lower the cost of production for Illinois small businesses, help create American jobs, and ultimately help provide a much needed jolt to grow and strengthen our economy.”

“Congress should be cutting red tape for businesses and encouraging and facilitating trade to help stimulate economic growth,” said Thune. “Our common-sense legislation updates the tariff exemption level on imported items, benefiting businesses that are currently saddled with paperwork compliance costs and customs officials who will be able to focus their limited resources on higher risk and higher value items. A higher de minimis level will be especially helpful to small businesses by making it easier to engage in global commerce, thus spurring economic growth and job creation.”

Background Information
Schock’s legislation, H.R. 1020 raises the de minimis amounts from $200 to $800 to reduce paperwork burdens and facilitate the movement of cargo.

Currently, for all items entering the U.S., the value of the good determines the regulations and duties applied:

  • The threshold for exceptionally low-value items to receive minimal regulatory treatment, known as the “de minimis value,” is $200. This rate was set in 1993.
  • Low-value imports valued at $200-$2,000 receive treatment in the “informal value band.” These avoid the full measure of customs paperwork, but still pay duties to the U.S. This rate was set in 1998.
  • Items in excess of $2,000 require duties and completion of large administrative paperwork requirements.
H.R. 1020 would modernize the customs duties rates through an increase in the de minimis threshold from $200 to $800.  Schock’s legislation would reduce labor/operator and brokerage expenses through fewer formal entry filings, facilitate commerce with small businesses through low value shipments and reduce costs and paperwork. It would also adjust the de minimis level based on inflation and include a Sense of Congress that USTR should work to have other countries to raise their de minimis levels. Encouraging other countries to follow suit would further reduce costs for U.S. exporters trying to access foreign markets. Expanding avenues of trade for U.S. businesses has been a focus of Schock since arriving in Congress. He serves on the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade and helped facilitate passage of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia in the 112th Congress.

In April 2011, during the 112th Congress, Congressman Schock introduced similar legislation, H.R. 1653, to amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to increase the dollar amount required for articles and merchandise under the administrative exemptions and entry under regulations provisions of that Act. Schock’s stand alone legislation last Congress received significant bipartisan support in the House with 144 co-sponsors.
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