Rethink Trade Statement on De Minimis Special 301

Fix Big Tech Scams in China Competitiveness Legislation,
Urge Union, Consumer, Small Business and Digital Rights Groups

Washington, D.C. – Thirteen organizations representing consumers, workers and small businesses urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to ensure the final “China” legislation closes the de minimis “Amazon loophole” and excludes new Big Tech powers to attack gig worker and consumer protections, as Congress begins conference negotiations to reconcile the House COMPETES Act and the Senate’s USICA bill.

Known colloquially as the “Amazon loophole,” de minimis now allows billions of dollars of uninspected, potentially dangerous goods purchased online from China to flood U.S. markets while evading U.S. border inspection, taxes, tariffs and other normal Customs procedures. As the letter writers explain, closing the loophole is essential for this legislation to “succeed in its mission vis-a-vis China.” About two million such shipments arrive daily from China via air express alone.

The letter writers also encourage Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer to exclude language buried only in the Senate’s USICA bill that would provide Big Tech interests with dangerous new tools to undermine governments’ efforts to counter their abuses. This provision would hijack a powerful U.S. trade enforcement tool and redirect it to serve the interest of dominant Big Tech firms. 

As the letter outlines, the language, referenced in USICA Section 71011, “would newly require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to monitor the digital governance policies and anti-monopoly enforcement of countries around the world and target for elimination pro-consumer, pro-worker, pro-privacy and pro-competition policies and proposals. Nations that maintain such policies would be subject to U.S. government investigations and sanctions. A final bill must not include these terms, which extend a program known as “Special 301” to promote Big Tech interests.”

 If Congress includes these Special 301 powers for Big Tech in its final legislation, it would not only be contradicting the administration’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, it would also snub efforts by scores of Senate and House Democrats and GOP and Biden administration agencies to fight Big Tech abuses of workers, consumers and smaller firms.

For all press inquiries please contact: rshapiro@economicliberties.us.

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