EU to Consider Closing Off Duty Exemption That Aids Shein, Temu


The European Union is working on a proposal to impose import duties on cheap goods bought from online platforms outside the bloc, a move that would primarily target Chinese retailers such as Temu, AliExpress and Shein, according to people familiar with the matter.

The EU currently has a €150 ($161) duty-free threshold for online purchases that’s meant for small gifts or personal packages but that has enabled a surge in small-value imports from those platforms, the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

The proposal would aim to stem this flow and would apply to all non-EU e-commerce platforms, they added. The plan was first reported by the Financial Times.

Spokespeople for the European Commission didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

While it remains to be seen if there’s consensus across member states to take action, the effort adds to the growing momentum of protectionism against Chinese companies as its cheaper goods threaten local producers. This month, the EU will introduce provisional tariffs of as high as 38 percent on Chinese electric vehicles.

In the US, which has a similar duty exemption for low-value personal packages, several bills are before Congress that would close off or lower what’s known as the de minimis threshold.

Still, inflation across the US and Europe means that there’s substantial demand among consumers for the cheap wares sold by platforms like PDD Holdings Inc’s Temu and those operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The rise of Shein has taken market share from European apparel retailers like Hennes & Mauritz AB and Inditex’s Zara, while Amazon is planning to launch its own low-cost online storefront.

By Alberto Nardelli

Learn more:

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