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Wenstrup introduces bill to prevent U.S. trade policy favoring foreign E-commerce

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Wenstrup has introduced H.R. 8059, the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Parity Act, a bipartisan bill to prevent U.S. trade policy from favoring the foreign e-commerce distribution operations that undermine U.S.-based operations. The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA), Carol Miller (R-WV), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Mike Carey (R-OH).

Current U.S. law allows companies to ship products directly from foreign warehouses to U.S. consumers duty and tax-free (including exemption from additional Section 301 China tariffs) if the products are valued at $800 or less. Retailers and brands located within U.S.-based foreign trade zones (FTZs) are barred from this same duty-free benefit on otherwise identical shipments and face up to a 60% cost disadvantage per shipment. This bill fixes that issue, allowing companies operating in the nearly 300 U.S. based FTZs to utilize de minimis entry procedures, creating parity with foreign distributors.

The U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Parity Act complements the Ways and Means Committee’s strong action this week to crack down on China’s de minimis abuses by making products subject to the Section 301 tariffs ineligible for de minimis entry.

"Our current trade policy counterintuitively benefits adversaries like China, and causes the loss of American jobs and opportunity. I believe it's important for our trade and foreign policy to align; and I'm pleased that my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, have joined me on this bill to ensure our trade policy doesn't punish U.S. businesses operating within the U.S.," said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH).

“For nearly a century, U.S. Foreign Trade Zones have supported American jobs, improved trade and lessened our dependence on foreign adversaries. However, it’s time we update our trade rules for a 21st century economy. I’m proud to join Representative Wenstrup in this effort to keep America competitive,” said Rep. Mike Carey (R-OH).

“E-commerce shipments from outside the United States should not be afforded special treatment compared to shipments from inside the U.S.,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). “I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation that would create parity in U.S. trade laws and preserve the jobs of hardworking Americans.”

“Foreign Trade Zones are vital to the strength of our supply chain and for supporting U.S. jobs,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). “I am proud to back this bill to finally bring parity to FTZs, ease supply chain burdens, and keep our economy moving.”

Congressman Wenstrup has met directly with Ohio businesses who face punishing tariffs due to this unequal treatment, competing against foreign shippers who are able to ship directly to U.S. consumers duty-free. This disparity provides strong incentive for U.S. companies to move operations outside of the U.S. to take advantage of de minimis entry, hurting U.S. jobs, tax revenue, and making it more difficult for Customs and Border Protection to provide proper oversight.

“I thank Congressman Wenstrup for his leadership in proposing the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Parity Act of 2024,” said Joseph R. Nardone, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. “Representing Foreign-Trade Zone 138, covering 25 counties in Central Ohio and 20 companies employing 7,434 individuals, we believe this bill will correct a significant economic disparity affecting U.S. companies. This legislation eliminates this imbalance, securing jobs and business operations in Ohio."

"Rep. Wenstrup’s bill is going to go a long way towards sustaining our region's economic vitality and ensuring fair competition in the international market,” said Kenny McDonald, President & CEO of the Columbus Partnership. “Not only will it safeguard local jobs, but it will bolster Central Ohio’s position as a premier destination for businesses and investment. We commend the efforts of Rep. Wenstrup to rectify this disparity and remain committed to fostering a thriving business environment for our community."

"Columbia Sportswear Company is strongly in support of Congressman Wenstrup’s leadership on trade legislation. It protects American jobs by allowing U.S. companies to compete on a level playing field with businesses located outside the U.S. By eliminating outdated and obscure trade regulations, it will lower costs for products that are important to American consumers. This is a win-win solution for antiquated laws," said Peter Bragdon, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and General Counsel of Columbia Sportswear Company.

"David’s Bridal is proud of the tremendous effort by Congressman Wenstrup to put forward a bill ensuring American businesses can compete on a level playing field with foreign businesses, ensure consumers are the beneficiaries of effective U.S. trade and safety policies, and the need to protect American jobs," said Jim Marcum, CEO of David's Bridal.

"REI Co-op applauds the introduction of the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Parity Act and Congressman Wenstrup’s leadership to advance a common-sense solution to an outdated trade policy. Creating parity for United States Foreign Trade Zones will level the playing field and enable America’s outdoor retail industry to compete with foreign sellers while upholding U.S. trade, health and safety laws," said Taldi Harrison, Director of Government Affairs, REI Co-op.

"The National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ) is grateful for the introduction of the bipartisan U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Parity Act of 2024 (H.R. 8059) led by Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and co-sponsored by Lou Correa (D-CA), Carol Miller (R-WV), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Mike Carey (R-OH). The legislation will level the playing field for U.S.-based operations distributing from an FTZ and ensure retention of American jobs while spurring further economic growth within the boundaries of the United States. 

"Congressman Wenstrup’s bill eliminates the existing incentive to establish or relocate operations across the border, resulting in no change to the volume of de minimis trade, only where those transactions originate and extends that parity to operations under the oversight of two distinct federal agencies. We recognize the on-going dialogue associated with de minimis entry and this legislation is intended solely to provide parity to U.S. FTZs based on whatever action Congress ultimately takes where de minimis is concerned," said Jeff Tafel, President, the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones.

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