The eBay CEO, Devin Wenig is urging the US government to “work” on policies affecting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) which make it difficult for them to compete amongst larger merchants.
Devin outlined four policies which US lawmakers can help with:
- Fair access to postal services
- A national internet sales tax
- Fair de minimis threshold
- Expansion of broadband to rural areas as part of the upcoming infrastructure bill
Devin called on the state to reject proposals which aim to make rural postal services “non-essential“. He says that policy would widen the urban-rural economic divide.
The proposal has been created by Donald Trump which aims to overhaul USPS’s business structure. It recommends USPS to develop a new pricing model that would charge market-based prices for mail and packages that not deemed to be “essential postal services“. This would raise costs for eBay and Amazon that are using the supplier for their last mile service.
Wayfair vs. South Dakota online sales tax
Small businesses also deserve more thoughtful tax and trade policy, says Devin. He says that Wayfair vs. South Dakota ruling is seeing states increasingly using the regulation as a “free” money grab.
Devin also says that the “punitive” taxation impacts sales on eBay. He concludes that the US needs a national internet sales tax or a small business exemption. Otherwise, he says that the trend will see small domestic sellers struggling.
A higher de minimis threshold
In addition, says Devin, the federal government should work with our international trade partners to negotiate a higher de minimis threshold—the price level of goods above which taxes begin to be applied – for American goods exported overseas. This would mean that small merchant who can’t afford international trade attorneys can still benefit from foreign markets.
Expansion of broadband to rural areas
Some 6 million of US SMBs trading on eBay come from rural areas. A third (33%) out of that figure according to Devin are disproportionately affected by “weak” broadband.
This February saw the US introducing a strategy called American Broadband Initiative (ABI) which focuses on improving broadband speed and providing internet access to US areas which don’t have it.