Tester urges Canada to change trade policy and help Montana businesses
March 12, 2015
Senator Jon Tester is urging Canada to eliminate tariffs on low-cost goods to better promote trade with the United States and support Montana businesses and jobs.
Tester, along with Democratic and Republican Senators from states that border Canada, sent a letter to Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer encouraging Canada to raise its de minimis threshold, which imposes a fee on shipped goods valued at $20 or higher. Goods brought into Canada from international travel, including the U.S., that have a $200 value or more are also taxed. In comparison, the United States' de minimis threshold is currently $200 for shipped goods, and $800 for Americans returning from international travel.
Tester said raising Canada's threshold will boost trade, benefit small and medium-sized businesses and free up customs resources to track higher risk shipments.
"Canada's low de minimis threshold represents an unnecessary trade barrier between our two countries," Tester wrote. "Any increases in Canada's de minimis level would have a significant and positive impact on U.S.-Canada trade and help to bolster increased economic growth for both countries."
Tester also pointed out that raising the threshold would positively impact e-commerce businesses in Montana.
"Over 20 percent of my sales are international and Canada is one of my top export destinations; however, packages sent to Canada are often subject to burdensome customs procedures, which makes it hard for my small business to provide my buyers with a seamless experience," said Colleen Rast, owner of Great Sky Gifts, a Kalispell-based online company. "I appreciate Senator Tester's attention to this issue because increases to Canada's de minimis will make me more profitable from international sales and able to create additional jobs in Kalispell, Montana."
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Last Congress, Tester urged the Department of Homeland Security not to impose a border fee on Canadians entering the U.S. through land ports of entry.