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Inception date: 24 Feb 2016 | Removal date: open ended


Congress approved, and on February 24, 2016 President Obama signed into law, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R.644). The bill includes a wide range of provisions that variously provide for the facilitation of trade and the enforcement of trade laws. The latter set of provisions relate, among other things, to the trade-remedy laws, the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and the removal of foreign barriers to U.S. exports. Title I deals with Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement. Among other things, it includes provisions intended to ensure that the programs of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provide trade benefits to importers, exporters, and other private sector (e.g., requiring that CBP establish priorities and performance standards to measure levels of achievement of customs modernization, trade facilitation, and trade enforcement functions and programs). It also establishes as a U.S. negotiating objective in any negotiation for a mutual recognition arrangement with a foreign country on partnership programs to seek to ensure the compatibility of that country's partnership programs with CBP partnership programs to enhance trade facilitation and trade enforcement. Title II deals with Import Health and Safety. It requires that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) develop a joint import safety rapid response plan that sets forth protocols for the CBP to coordinate federal responses to cargo entering the United States that poses a threat to the health or safety of U.S. consumers, and use in recovering from or mitigating the effects of actions and responses to such an incident. It also requires that CBP ensure that personnel assigned to U.S. ports of entry are effectively trained to ensure the safety and expeditious entry of merchandise into the United States. In Title III (Import-Related Protection of Intellectual Property Rights) includes several provisions related to intellectual property. For example, CBP is directed to provide to trademark or copyright owners information about merchandise imported into the United States in violation of U.S. trademark or copyright infringement laws, CBP shall provide the any information appearing on the merchandise and its packaging and labels. It also provides that a technology, product, service, device, or its component that is imported into the United States in violation of infringement of U.S. copyright laws may be seized and forfeited by CBP. Title IV (Evasion of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders) requires that CBP investigate other federal agency claims of evasion of antidumping or countervailing duties, including any cash deposits or other security, with respect to covered merchandise entered into the United States; and take specified enforcement actions if necessary, including suspension of liquidation. Title V amends the antidumping and countervailing duty laws to provide that authorities are not required to determine, or make any adjustments to, a countervailable subsidy rate or weighted average dumping margin based on any assumptions about information the interested party would have provided if it had complied with a request for information; are not required to corroborate any dumping margin or CVD in a separate segment of the same proceeding; and may use a countervailable subsidy rate or dumping margin meeting specified criteria, including the highest rate or margin, when making an inference adverse to a party's interests. It further provides that the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) shall not determine that there is no material injury or threat of material injury to a domestic industry from imports merely because that industry is profitable or its performance has recently improved, and that the administering authority shall consider to be outside the ordinary course of trade any particular market situation that prevents a proper comparison with the export price or constructed export price. It revises requirements regarding administering authority determinations as to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe or suspect that a foreign like product is being sold at less than cost of production in AD investigations or reviews. Certain factors are specified for the administering authority to consider when deciding whether it would be unduly burdensome in CVD or AD investigations and reviews to examine voluntary responses from exporters or producers which are not the subjects of the investigation or review. Title VI (Additional Trade Enforcement and Intellectual Property Rights Protection) revises requirements for the identification of U.S. trade expansion priorities, including closer consultations between the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and Congress. It provides that the USTR may take actions to suspend concessions or other obligations under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act if certain action has terminated that was taken by the USTR to protect U.S. rights under any trade agreement or to eliminate an act, policy, or practice of a foreign country that violates that agreement or burdens or restricts U.S. commerce; the petitioner or any representative of the domestic industry that would benefit from reinstatement of such action requests the USTR for reinstatement; and the USTR meets certain requirements. It also establishes within the Office of the USTR an Interagency Trade Enforcement Center and the position of Chief Manufacturing Negotiator, as well as a Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator. It creates a Trade Enforcement Trust Fund for deposit of amounts equivalent to AD and CVD receipts, which the USTR may use to seek to enforce obligations under the WTO Agreements and free trade agreements, monitor foreign country implementation of similar obligations, and investigate and respond to complaint petitions. It requires that CBP ensure that appropriate resources address concerns that honey as well as illicit cultural property, archaeological or ethnological materials, and fish, wildlife, and plants are being imported into the United States in violation of U.S. customs laws. It directs DHS to deposit into a special account certain interest earned on amounts realized by CBP on antidumping duties or countervailing duties assessed on or after October 1, 2014. The interest shall be included in any CBP duty distributions to affected domestic producers for qualifying expenses. Under Title VII (Currency Manipulation) CVD investigations or reviews may determine whether currency undervaluation by the government of, or any public entity within, a foreign country is providing, directly or indirectly, a countervailable subsidy to its exporters or products. It also defines as export subsidies as those contingent upon export performance, alone or as one of two or more conditions. Title VIII enacts the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2015, providing for future consideration of a miscellaneous tariff bill not. Title IX (Miscellaneous Provisions) directs the USTR to encourage other countries to establish commercially meaningful de minimis values for express and postal shipments that are exempt from customs duties and taxes and from certain other entry documentation requirements, and increases from $200 to $800 the general de minimis aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of duty-free articles imported by one person on one day. It includes several other provisions, most of which are technical in nature. Title X (Offsets) pays for items in the bill primarily by renewing customs user fees for the processing of merchandise formally entered or released into the United States.



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