The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act (H.R. 4318), which has now moved to the Senate for approval, promises to eliminate $1.1 billion in import tariffs during the next three years and boost U.S. manufacturing output by over $3.1 billion.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday that promises to eliminate $1.1 billion in import tariffs during the next three years and increase U.S. manufacturing output by more than $3.1 billion.
The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act (H.R. 4318), once enacted, will effectively eliminate on a temporary basis tariffs on imports of nearly 1,700 products not available in the United States.
“I am proud to join with my colleagues to support American workers and help American manufacturers of all sizes reduce costs, create jobs, and compete globally,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Reichert, R-Wash., in a statement. “Today’s strong bipartisan vote has been years in the making.”
Congress has not passed a miscellaneous tariff bill since the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act in 2010 expired at the end of 2012.
The 2016 American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which became law on May 20, 2016, established a new process for determining which imported products will be included in a miscellaneous tariff bill. Previously, Congress played the predominant role in these determinations.
Under the new process, the task of collecting petitions requesting reduced or suspended tariffs on particular products, receiving public comments on those petitions, and making a final determination on whether to include a requested product in a miscellaneous trade bill is now carried out by U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC also obtains input from other federal agencies, including the Commerce Department, in making its determination for each petition.
These reviews were concluded by Commerce, the ITC and the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees in August 2017, and both chambers drafted miscellaneous tariff bills before the year ended. Reichert thanked the ITC and Commerce, as well as Customs and Border Protection, “for their invaluable work.”
Industry groups applauded the House’s action on passing this underrated, but important trade legislation.
“Manufacturers and other businesses face what amounts to a nearly $1-million-a-day tax every additional day this issue goes unresolved,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, in a statement. “That’s thanks to billions of dollars in burdensome tariffs that companies have had to pay since the last MTB expired at the end of 2012, just for buying the supplies they need to build products in America.”
“Given the scale of the undue duty burden our industry faces – in 2016, our industry generated more than 50 percent of duties collected by the U.S. government despite only accounting for a mere 6 percent of total imports by value – such duty relief is critical for our industry,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO, American Apparel & Footwear Association, in a letter to House lawmakers on Tuesday.
Industry groups are now pressing the Senate to act quickly to approve the legislation and get it to President Trump’s desk for signature.
“Manufacturers and our economy started 2018 strong. Passing legislation like this will help keep the momentum going,” Timmons said.