Sending Office: Honorable Earl Blumenauer
Sign on to the Blumenauer-Buchanan-Kind-Schweikert de minimis letter
Letter Closing THIS Friday, Sept. 27
Current Signers: Blumenauer, Buchanan, Kind, Schweikert, Aguilar,
Amodei, Beyer, Biggs, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brown, Buchanan, Carbajal,
Carter (GA), Chabot, Cohen, Cooper, Crist, Davis (IL), DelBene,
DesJarlais, Eshoo, Estes, Ferguson, Gosar,
Hagedorn, Heck, Hill, Hurd, Johnson (GA), Kelly, Kildee,
Kilmer, Kind, Kirkpatrick, Kuster, Kustoff, LaHood, Larsen, Lieu,
Long, Marchant, Marshall, Massie, Meeks, Perlmutter, Quigley, Rice,
Riggleman, Rodgers, Roe, Schneider, Schrader, Schweikert, Sewell,
Smith (NE), Thompson (CA), Tipton, Trone, Upton, Veasey, Vela,
Walorski, Wittman, and Wright
We invite you to join us in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer opposing any attempt to lower the U.S. de minimis threshold during the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In early 2016, Congress raised the de minimis threshold—the value of a shipment of merchandise imported by one person on one day that generally may be imported free of duties and taxes—from $200 to $800 in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act
of 2015 (TFTEA).
The U.S. de minimis threshold is a policy set by Congress, and it still enjoys broad bipartisan support. However, in his submission to Congress of the draft Statement of Administrative Action (SAA) outlining steps that the Executive Branch proposes to implement
the new agreement, Ambassador Lighthizer signaled potential actions USTR may take to lower the de minimis provisions of TFTEA.
Any new discussion of the U.S. de minimis threshold should happen outside of the NAFTA renegotiation, and we invite you to sign on to our letter.
Earl Blumenauer (Laura.Thrift@mail.house.gov)
Vern Buchanan (Sean.Brady@mail.house.gov)
Ron Kind (Hana.Greenberg@mail.house.gov)
David Schweikert (Katherina.Dimenstein@mail.house.gov)
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
As you know, close consultations between Congress and the Executive Branch are necessary for the successful passage of a trade agreement and are a key requirement of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. To that end,
we write today regarding one of the elements included in your submission to Congress of the draft Statement of Administrative Action (SAA) outlining steps that the Executive Branch proposes to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
We have serious bipartisan concern over the draft SAA’s language related to the implementation of Chapter 7 (Customs Administration and Trade Facilitation), specifically Article 7.8.1, which states:
Between the submission of the draft SAA and the submission of the final implementation package, USTR intends to continue consultations with Congress on potential changes to section 901 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement
Act (19 U.S.C. 1321) to implement Article 7.8.1 (Express Shipments).
We strongly oppose any effort by the Executive Branch to lower the current $800 de minimis threshold through the USMCA implementing bill, including any amendment to 19 U.S.C. 1321 that would grant the Executive Branch additional authority to decrease or
eliminate the threshold.
The U.S. de minimis threshold is a policy recently set by Congress, which raised the threshold from $200 in 2016. The current de minimis threshold still enjoys wide bipartisan support in Congress and throughout the manufacturing, retail, logistics, and e-commerce
landscapes. In our view, it is neither necessary, appropriate, nor desirable to change this policy in U.S. law as part of the implementation of the USMCA’s requirements. In fact, we consider that such an effort would amount to an override of Congressional
authority by the Executive Branch, and thus would be entirely inappropriate.
The draft SAA indicates that you may seek authority for the Executive Branch to change the U.S. de minimis level and intend to continue consultations with Congress on this potential change. We would welcome meaningful consultations described in the draft
SAA; such consultations have not occurred to date.
We wish to be unequivocal about our view on this matter:
The threshold set by Congress in 2016 continues to represent our position on de minimis. To the extent the Administration feels strongly about revisiting this policy with Congress, it is free to do so through the process of public debate and deliberation
that regular order provides. We do not welcome a derogation from the current U.S. de minimis threshold, either directly or through the provision of authority, through the forthcoming implementing legislation for USMCA.
We look forward to working with you to address this and other Member concerns as we consider the implementation of the USMCA.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0