The White House wants to put an end to low-cost shipping from overseas, a move widely supported among U.S. e-commerce sellers.
Every day, Americans buy tens of thousands of cheap products from China—jeans, electronics, things made of plastic. Two months ago, I even bought a wedding dress.
We buy stuff from China mostly because the low cost of living and lax labor regulations allow manufacturers to make products cheaply there. But there’s another reason, too. It’s really cheap to send stuff from China to the United States, which means sellers there can charge barely anything to ship an already-cheap item 6,000 miles across an ocean. Want an eyebrow razor? On Wish.com, a site that sells products directly from China, you can buy one for 95 cents, plus a $2 shipping fee. A similar eyebrow razor on Walmart.com, by contrast, costs $2.62 for a three-pack, but charges a shipping fee of $5.99. According to congressional testimony, at current rates, shipping a parcel to Fairfax, Virginia from North Carolina would cost $1.94. From Shanghai, it’d be $1.12.