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Technical barrier to trade
Representative Larry Kissell (Democrat of North Carolina) and a bipartisan group of 23 cosponsors introduced on May 25, 2010 the Textile Enforcement and Security Act (TESA) (H.R.5393). The measure, which its supporters call 'the first ever textile specific customs enforcement bill,' would substantially increase the scrutiny of imported apparel products and could raise the cost of doing business. The bill was not acted upon before the adjournment of the 111th Congress on September 29, 2010, though the bill could be reintroduced in the 112th Congress (2011-2012).
The subject of customs enforcement is of increasing interest in Congress, where hearings on the matter have been held by the Senate Finance Committee (October 20, 2009) and the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives (May 20, 2010). A representative of the National Council for Textile Organizations (NCTO), one of the primary industry groups supporting TESA, gave testimony at the latter hearing. If Congress develops a new customs reauthorization bill this year that would provide the opportunity for TESA or some of its provisions to become part of the legislation; failing that, the sponsors would need to press either for separate enactment of their bill or find some other germane legislation to which it might be attached. The leadership of the Senate Finance Committee has indicated an interest in developing such a bill later in 2010.
In addition to the NCTO, the bill is supported by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, the National Textile Association, the American Fiber Manufacturers Association, and the National Cotton Council. NCTO is also looking for potential allies among industries that have won cases under the trade-remedy laws (especially anti-dumping) but complain that the punitive duties are not being collected. The NCTO representative said that there have been some talks with U.S. honey producers, wire hanger manufacturers, and others about supporting their measure.
Among the provisions of the bill are the following items:
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