ANNOUNCEMENT 27 Apr 2016In April 2016, the government of the United States of America announced a change in import duties.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
On April 27, 2016 the House of Representatives approved by a vote of 415-2 the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (H.R.4923). The Senate then approved the bill by unanimous consent on May 10, 2016. President Obama signed the bill into law on May 20.
The purpose of the bill is to restore and reform the process by which miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) are developed and approved. MTBs are periodically approved in the United States to provide for the reduction or suspension of tariffs imposed on certain imported products, typically those that are not produced in the United States but are used as inputs in U.S.-made goods. The process had long been considered non-controversial, and MTBs were routinely approved by wide margins, but in recent years objections were raised over the potential for tariff suspensions to be granted as favors to specific constituents.
The new law is intended to address those concerns, and to facilitate the future approval of new MTBs. H.R. 4923 establishes a new process under which the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) will determine which imported products would become eligible to have tariffs suspended or reduced through a future act of the Congress.
Currently, petitions for tariff relief are sent to the Congress and incorporated into legislation before being analyzed by the USITC. Under H.R. 4923, the USITC would receive and analyze petitions submitted directly by the public in two separate rounds - one in 2017 and the second in 2020. After receiving analysis from the International Trade Administration (ITA), the USITC would submit reports to the Congress identifying the products it determines would be eligible for tariff relief. On the basis of information from the USITC and ITA, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing the bill would cost $47 million over the 2017-2021 period, assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts.
It is impossible to identify specific countries or products affected by the enactment of this bill, as it will depend entirely on the content of future MTBs.