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Op Ed: Congressman Jason Smith Should Fight to Protect Key Trade Provision That Supports Missouri’s Small Businesses

With rising prices, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, it’s harder than ever for people here in Missouri to open and operate small businesses. Congressman Jason Smith, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, has made it his goal to fix that problem.

So far, I believe that Congressman Smith has done a good job of doing just that. This year, he’s fought for bills, like the recently introduced Small Business Jobs Act, to cut costs for small businesses across Missouri, grow jobs here in the Show Me State, and support our economy. However, despite his best intentions, Congressman Smith is pushing for one policy change – changing the de minimis threshold – that could seriously hurt small businesses here in Missouri.

While many Missourians might not have heard of de minimis before, it’s an important trade rule that small business owners rely on to cut down on bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary tariffs on low-cost imports. Unfortunately, Congressman Smith is threatening to put the de minimis threshold in danger. Many small business owners in Missouri wouldn’t be able to keep their doors open without de minimis.

The de minimis threshold plays an essential role for small businesses by saving companies from paying tariffs on shipments with a value under $800, and it helps small business owners who don’t have the time to navigate through complicated trade laws to simplify the process of importing the items they need to run their companies. That helps small business owners cut costs, which allows them to hire for good-paying jobs and pass savings onto families here in Missouri.

According to research by the Business Roundtable, changing the de minimis threshold would force the over 6,000 businesses based in Missouri that rely on receiving shipments from over 154 countries to bear the cost of price hikes on low-cost imports. Over three-quarters of those companies have less than 20 employees, and they simply can’t afford to watch their costs stack up. And since other countries would likely retaliate against a change to the de minimis threshold by raising tariffs on American-made items, the thousands of businesses that export goods made in Missouri would find it harder to sell their products.

The de minimis threshold plays an essential role for small businesses here in Missouri, and it’s an important trade rule that helps support families, companies, and jobs in our state. Congressman Smith has made it clear that he wants to protect small businesses, and that means the de minimis threshold is a policy he should fight to protect.