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Duty Reduction/Suspension Legislation Could Be Approved by Year’s End

The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on 25 October as part of its preparation of a miscellaneous tariff bill implementing as many as 1,800 duty suspensions or reductions that the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended for inclusion in an MTB. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (Republican-Texas) has said that he anticipates an MTB will be passed by the end of this year. The last MTB expired on 31 December 2012.

The list of tariff suspensions currently under consideration includes a range of products of potential interest to Hong Kong and mainland Chinese exporters. The final USITC report lists 2,524 petitions covering products in the following categories: chemicals (58.0 percent of petitions filed); textiles, apparel and footwear (18.1 percent); machinery and equipment (18.1 percent); agriculture and fisheries (1.4 percent); and other (4.4 percent).  Of these, 1,827 petitions met the statutory requirements for inclusion in an MTB but many others did not contain the required information or were not otherwise recommended for inclusion, as follows.

  • meets the statutory requirements for inclusion in an MTB without modification (category I, 144 petitions)
  • meets the statutory requirements with (i) technical changes aimed at clarity and administrability (category II, 1,287 petitions), (ii) adjustments in the amount of duty suspension or reduction requested (category III, 392 petitions), or (iii) modifications in product scope to address objections from domestic producers (category IV, four petitions)
  • does not contain the required information or was not filed by a likely beneficiary (category V, 54 petitions)
  • not recommended for inclusion in an MTB because the product description could not be administered or was indiscernible, a domestic producer objected, or the estimated duty revenue loss was more than US$500,000 per year (category VI, 643 petitions)
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