Brussels announced it more than a week ago, but the measure has not caused much noise. However, consumers could be the first to feel the impact of this new measure. As part of the EU's customs reform the Commission announced on 17th May that it planned to end the exemption from customs duties for parcels entering the EU and including goods with a value of less than 150 euros.
Indeed, "up to 65% of these parcels are currently undervalued in order to avoid import customs duties," explains the European Commission in its press release, which estimates at one billion per year the number of purchases entering the EU via online sales sites. In their sights in particular, major Chinese houses such as Aliexpress or Shein, which export more and more to European buyers.
Customs duties will have to be paid at the time of purchase
In concrete terms, this means that all parcels sent as part of e-commerce to the European Union will be subject to customs duties. It is impossible to know if online sales sites will pass on this price to consumers, but it is likely that it could increase the price of certain goods.
Previously, customs duties could be hidden by the trading platform and be charged to the buyer via the carrier or on delivery. With the reform, the aim is to make online sales sites face up to their responsibilities: they "will have to ensure that customs duties and VAT are paid at the time of purchase" and will be considered official importers. Thus, no more risk of being asked for additional payment when delivering or collecting the package.
Four categories of customs duties to facilitate payment
On the other hand, faced with the abolition of this measure, Brussels must simplify the calculation of customs duties: currently estimated at several thousand, the number of categories of customs duties will be reduced to four to allow e-commerce platforms to apply customs duties much more easily, especially for small parcels that concentrate the vast majority of their activity. This is expected to generate up to one billion euros in additional customs revenue per year.
However, the measure is not expected to come into force immediately for consumers. This reform must indeed be discussed by the Twenty-Seven from 1 July, and its entry into force is scheduled for 2028 at the earliest.