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한국관련자료
The Value of De Minimis Imports
NBER
2024.06.25
Section 321 of the 1930 Trade Act allows up to $800 in imports per person per day to enter the US duty-free and with minimal customs requirements. Fueled by rising direct-to-consumer trade, these “de minimis” shipments have exploded yet are not recorded in Census trade data. Who benefits from this type of trade, and what are the policy implications? We analyze international shipment data, including de minimis shipments, from three global carriers and US Customs and Border Protection. Lower-income zip codes are more likely to import de minimis shipments, particularly from China, suggesting that the tariff and administrative fee incidence in direct-to-consumer trade is pro-poor. Theoretically, imposing tariffs above a threshold leads to terms-of-trade gains through bunching, even in a setting with complete pass-through to linear tariffs. Empirically, bunching pins down the demand elasticity for direct shipments. Eliminating §321 would reduce aggregate welfare by $11.8-$14.3 billion and disproportionately hurt lower-income and minority consumers.