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4 areas to improve marketplace trading: eBay CEO urges state to rethink policies ‘hurting’ SMBs

By Sasha Fedorenko May 17, 2019 - 4:30 pm

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:

  1. Fair access to postal services
  2. A national internet sales tax
  3. Fair de minimis threshold
  4. Expansion of broadband to rural areas as part of the upcoming infrastructure bill

Postal restraints

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.

  • 2 months ago

    Oh, the irony!

    LOL, Wenig calling out ANYTHING outside of eBay’s fees as a “money grab” and “punitive” resulting in small businesses suffering.

    You just can’t make up the stuff this clown spews out of his mouth-hole.

  • 2 months ago

    We looked at selling in the USA through FBA and it just wasn’t possible due to the different state tax. Anyone else got any experience of this?

  • Jonah
    2 months ago

    If you can tax the dead then I’m sure you can tax the internet- it won’t be long before online sales tax hits UK smb’s further eroding cash flow and increasing interference and red tape.

  • LeadRole
    2 months ago

    I remember when eBay facilitated the agreement between China and USPS to deliver epackets with tracking for less than an American citizen can ship a package across town. The losses incurred by USPS is now being covered by Americans via higher shipping rates. Ebay has done more to hurt small businesses than any government agency.

  • Dav
    2 months ago

    The “Devil” Wenig speaks with forked tongue. eBay especially with Wenig at the helm have been destroying small business and small part-time sellers. So much so that it seems to be their purpose and business plan. eBay are blood-suckers that devise any and every scheme they can come up with to take more money from the sellers. Always underhanded, deceiving, sneaky, and unfair in the way they do it as well. When sellers finally wake up and stop being abused by this company eBay will truly be in trouble. They will just continue to bleed the sellers that are still there until they’re gone. They’ve been doing it for years because they have no clue how to get revenue or create growth. To me Wenig seems to be making excuses in advance for further failing GMV. You simply can’t believe anything this guy says.

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