Good News for International Purchases - Minimum for Import Duties Increased to $800
More than a few times I've seen a sale posted with great prices only to realize that the products are coming from Europe or some such place and >$200. It's a little strange, given that you were able to bring in goods up to $800 personally from an international trip into the US, but those same goods incurred customs duties if shipped with a price greater than $200. Worse, it was difficult to tell exactly what those fees would be, and on top of that companies like FedEx and UPS may charge brokerage and ancillary fees.
As of March 10th, a new act passed in the US raised the de minimis level (the minimum value of certain goods below which no formal customs are required and no taxes levied) from $200 to $800. Now you can order goods from foreign shops without the specter of import duties under the cap. This should also speed up shipment times on average and lead to more predictable total costs. Link to the Act (Warning: It's Pretty Dry). Personally, I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at shops like END, Cultizm, Haven, Japanese stores, and some nicer footwear shops like Carmina.
Our hearts go out to the Canadians as well as some other countries with crazy low import duty thresholds. Then again, your healthcare is free. But my shoes were cheaper...Difficult to say who's winning.