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MTB Reform Passes Senate in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act
May 19, 2015


    The Senate passed an amendment to the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 reforming the process by which Miscellaneous Tariff Bills will be submitted and considered.  According to the bill, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule “imposes duties on imported goods for which there is no domestic availability or insufficient domestic availability.”  However, such duties “create artificial distortions in the economy of the United States that negatively affect the United States manufacturers and consumers.”  The recommendation is to update the Harmonized Tariff Schedule every three years “to remove the competitive disadvantage to United States manufactures and consumers resulting from an outdated Harmonized Tariff Schedule and to promote the competitiveness of United States manufacturers”.    

    The bill requires that the United States International Trade Commission (Commission) solicit proposed duty suspensions and reductions through the Federal Register and the internet by October 15, 2015 and again by October 15, 2018.  Members of the public will be able to review proposed duty suspensions and reductions as well as disclosure forms on the internet.  The proposed duty suspensions will be sent to Congress for review and the Commission will also submit a report to Congress on whether there is any domestic production of the relevant articles, whether any domestic producer objects to the proposal, whether any technical changes to the article descriptions are necessary, the amount of tariff revenue that will no longer be collected, and a determination as to whether the proposed duty suspension or reduction is available to any person that imports the relevant article.   The Department of Commerce in consultation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection will also be required to submit a similar report regarding whether there is any domestic production of the relevant articles, whether any domestic producer objects to the proposal, and whether any technical changes to the article descriptions are necessary.  The bill also provides that a proposed duty suspension or reduction submitted by a Member of Congress will not receive more favorable treatment than a proposal made by a member of the public.

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