Currently “small-value goods can be imported free of extra charges” into the EU. Small has meant that parcels valued under 150 Euros (about $160), don’t currently attract customs fees. German newspapers and others are now reporting this is set to be abolished… if an amendment to planned EU customs reforms, tabled by a French MEP, passes into law.

Hopefully this is just a bit of French anti-Amazon gesture-politics, and the amendment will be withdrawn or struck out. Before it can cause damage to the cross-border mail-order trade in books, journals, comics and BDs, small artworks and Etsy-like crafts, and suchlike.

But other moves are equally ominous, and suggest a wider aim among the EU’s MEPs. One reads of plans that would see all mail-order sellers forced to “charge customs duties and VAT [national sales tax] at the time of purchase”, and they would also have to register with a giant new EU Customs Authority and log all transactions and buyers. This seems likely to place a huge and disproportionate burden on small publishers and catalogue-based dealers, such as those selling paper books into the EU. Small-scale creatives are facing enough challenges (digital tax reporting, increased postage, rampant piracy, generative AIs, customers no longer buying due the cost-of-living, etc). They don’t need to be whacked with this is well.