NAFTA, Data, and De Minimis

Heather Noggle   January 31, 2018   Comments Off on NAFTA, Data, and De Minimis

It’s now 2018 and we’re back in NAFTA renegotiations. This article from the perspective of FedEx and author Ralph Carter reminds us that the data about a shipment (he uses the word package) is as important as the package itself.  So true! Also, de minimis disparity.

Consider all of the data required to process your single ecommerce order: from the data architecture of each website to the data required to place the order, pay for it, select it from a warehouse, place it on the right plane or truck and then deliver it to the right address, and possibly return it. NAFTA gives us the opportunity to enact modern rules that protect the flow of this data across borders.

While US negotiators are working to ensure the free flow of data across borders they are also working to simplify the physical movement of goods by asking Mexico and Canada to raise their de minimis levels. De minimis is the value below which a good enters a country duty free. In the US goods valued below $800 enter duty free. But in Mexico the limit is about $50 and in Canada it is only about $15. That means Canadian residents are charged duty and taxes on very low priced ecommerce products from the US or Mexico.

Some definite disparity there. I’m assuming the currencies have been standardized to USD, but I think that’s a safe assumption.

More on NAFTA in the coming weeks.