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House Endorses New Process to Consider Temporary Duty Suspensions or Reductions

The House of Representatives approved on 27 April in a nearly unanimous vote a bill (H.R. 4923) to reform the process of developing and enacting miscellaneous trade bills, which suspend duties on imported inputs and products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production and availability. The Senate could take up the bill as early as the week of 9 May.

Under this bill, the MTB process would begin through petitions made by U.S. businesses to the U.S. International Trade Commission rather than via legislation introduced by members of Congress. The USITC would analyse these petitions, taking into account comments received from the public and the White House, and then issue a public report to Congress with its recommendations regarding those products that meet MTB standards.

The House Ways and Means Committee would then examine the USITC’s recommendations and draft an MTB, which could exclude products recommended by the USITC but could not add products that were not recommended. The committee would have to certify that there are no spending earmarks and publish a list of any limited tariff benefits (tax cuts that benefit ten or fewer businesses). The House and Senate would then consider the MTB within existing rules.

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