05 July 2024


The European Commission plans to impose customs duties on goods under €150, specifically targeting Chinese e-commerce giants such as Temu, Shein, and AliExpress. This measure aims to curb the influx of substandard items from China and create a level playing field for all online retailers. As reported by the Financial Times, the proposal will be introduced later this month, potentially ending the current €150 threshold for duty-free imports. The report says: “The Commission already proposed scrapping the duty threshold last year, but it could now seek to speed up its adoption to counter the surge of cheap imports, one EU official said.”

The European Commission's data shows a significant increase in e-commerce imports, with 2.3 billion items below this threshold imported last year alone. This surge is partly attributed to subsidised postage costs from China, making it economical to ship cheap goods by air. The proposed measures will apply to any online retailer shipping to EU customers from outside the bloc, while US-based Amazon generally uses European sellers.

Additionally, the Commission may require large platforms to register for VAT payments online, regardless of the transaction value. Although VAT has been applied to all packages since 2021, they remain duty-free under the current threshold. This new proposal aims to address this gap, ensuring both VAT and customs duties are collected upfront.

CLECAT has been advocating for the dissembling of the Customs Reform Proposal, which first proposed the abolishment of the duty de-minimis, arguing, that the issues of e-commerce need an urgent solution whilst other parts of the reform, such as the future facilitation structure would benefit from a more in-depth analysis.