Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Europe does to Chinese shopping websites what India did in 2020 – Times of India

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The European Commission is reportedly considering imposing customs duties on cheap goods bought from Chinese online retailers such as Temu, Shein and AliExpress. The region is said to be concerned about a rise in low-quality products entering the market.
Citing three people briefed on the matter, the Financial Times reports that later this month, the Commission will suggest scrapping a current 150 euros threshold under which items can be bought duty free.
The report mentioned that this situation is fueled by a surge in e-commerce imports. According to the commission, about 2.3 billion items valued below the 150 euros duty-free threshold entered the EU last year.
The e-commerce imports have more than doubled year-on-year, with April seeing a peak of 350,000 items, which converts to nearly two deliveries per household on average.
“China benefits from subsidised postage costs, meaning it is cost-effective to send cheap goods by air,” the report noted.

EU to change rules for all retailers outside Europe

The report noted that these provisions will be applicable to all online retailer shipping to EU customers directly from outside the bloc. In the case of Amazon, the US-based company typically uses sellers based in Europe.
Another possible measure that may be made compulsory for large platforms is to register for VAT payments online, no matter their value.
It is to be noted that the commission proposed the measure of scrapping the duty threshold last year but it is now seeking to expedite its adoption to counter the surge of cheap imports, one EU official was cited as saying.

What are the ‘issues’ with the cheap Chinese products

The Financial Times report said that there has been a jump in the number of dangerous products reported by EU countries. This jump was more than 50% from 2022 to 2023, and cosmetics, toys, electrical appliances and clothes were among the products with the most safety issues.
Industry group, Toy Industries of Europe, said earlier this year that it bought 19 toys from Temu and found that none complied with EU standards, while 18 presented a real safety risk for children.
Temu said that “all 19 product listings are no longer available on our EU website”, adding that “product safety is of paramount concern to us and we have strengthened the monitoring of this product group and its associated requirements”.
Temu noted its growth was not dependent on cheap items and that “we are open to and supportive of any policy adjustments made by legislators that align with consumer interests” as long as these policies were fair.
Meanwhile, AliExpress said it was “working with the legislators” to “make sure we were, are and continuously will be in a compliant position in the EU market”. Shein noted that it was “fully supportive” of efforts to reform customs duties.

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