New EU rules on (China) imports


If you regularly order stuff in China, it is good to know that from 1-1-2021 VAT is required within the EU. Even if a parcel has a value of only one and a half Euro.

Ordering electronics directly in China will become a lot more expensive as of January 1. From that moment on, you as the receiving party of items ordered in countries outside the EU will have to pay VAT. Of course, this was already the case, but the rule was for devices with a value from €22 and up. For a long time, Chinese suppliers were allowed to send packages with the well-known term ‘gift’ or ‘sample’. Easy for customs as well, because a lot of small parts come from the Far East; almost impossible to trace. Let alone to estimate a correct value.

In short: you can be faced with nasty surprises. For example, if you order a resistor of 1 cent and the package is intercepted, you may suddenly be charged a few Euros.

Higher prices in the offing

The new legislation was conceived at the time by the EU ‘to protect the internal market’. The point is of course only that within the EU we still have very few manufacturers who manufacture the mentioned resistors, or many other electronic parts and modules. It seems to be a way to earn extra money in an easy way. There is a way to ‘get around’ the misery; namely by using warehouses located within the EU.

And these have been placed by ‘the Chinese’. But we do see that the prices at European traders are going up considerably. After all, they no longer have any competition to fear from China, so they can make their parts more expensive. Sadly enough, we often see exactly the same items from China appear at traders in England or Germany that are suddenly three times or more expensive. Which means that the money doesn’t end up with EU manufacturers, but mainly in the distributive trade.

Anyway: be careful when ordering directly from China. Even now, because many orders from there will only be delivered in January!


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