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Bridal Industry urges Congressional action on China-Direct packages

Everyday tens of thousands of products from foreign countries—primarily China—are shipped directly to U.S. consumers. These packages often enter the US deliberately mislabeled to avoid paying duties, and, in many cases, state and local taxes. The US wedding industry is particularly concerned with these China Direct (or one-offs), and the National Bridal Retailers Association (NBRA) is calling on Congress to close these loopholes.

As a result of cheap labor, cut-rate shipping cost loopholes and uncollected duties and taxes, China Direct shipments have an unfair advantage and are costing the US millions in lost revenue, according to the NBRA. Wedding couples are at particular risk as they do not realize the merchandise in these rogue packages may be counterfeit goods and cannot be returned, thus losing their hard-earned money. Additionally, many of these one-off items are not regulated to ensure they are produced under ethical conditions or that the materials used are safe for consumers.

Ann Campeau, director of the NBRA, stated, “There are a number of foreign-based companies now selling direct to US consumers, yet they avoid paying local and state taxes or import tariffs as they ship direct from overseas factories.

"Our state and federal governments are missing out on millions of dollars due to these loopholes. Ironically, they also pay significantly less in shipping than we do within the US. These discounts combined give them an unfair competitive advantage over the nearly 6400 independently owned brick and mortar bridal and specialty shops. We need Congressional support to enact changes not only to level the playing field but to ensure that imported goods are safe for their constituents."

Michelle Mueller, President of Becker’s Bridal located in Fowler, MI, added, “Becker’s Bridal has been a consistent strong employer in Michigan for 85 years. Our business alone has generated over $2 million in sales tax revenue over the last decade. The idea of Michigan losing that revenue due to tariff and tax evading China Direct packages is staggering.”

Small businesses in the bridal industry, and other brick and mortar stores across the nation, need help. The U.S. loopholes that permit China Direct must be closed. In the face of such unfair advantages, some stores are struggling to maintain quality inventory and to continue employing the hundreds of thousands of Americans who provide service to millions of American wedding couples (2.2 million in 2018).

Bridal manufacturers and retailers together are asking that Congressional leaders take immediate action to plug the gaps in U.S. customs regulations that permit China Direct and to protect the constituents they represent.

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