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New Import Duty Suspension/Reduction Process to Begin on 11 October

The U.S. International Trade Commission will formally kick off 11 October a process that could result in the United States granting new or extending current import duty suspensions or reductions to potentially thousands of products from all sources, including Hong Kong and mainland China, under the so-called miscellaneous trade bill process. Any such duty suspensions or reductions would only apply to regular most-favoured nation rates of duty and would not cover any additional tariffs such as those imposed under Section 301.

The last MTB was approved by Congress in September 2018. Approved petitions are found in HTSUS heading 9902 but will expire on 31 December 2020 unless a renewal request is received and granted. Past MTBs have included diverse products such as chemicals, yarns, electronic components and numerous other manufacturing inputs, as well as food and finished consumer products such as food preparations, footwear and sporting goods. Companies must act by the 10 December deadline in order to have provisions extended or to add new ones.

To qualify for MTB duty reduction treatment, the imported good must have no opposition from U.S. domestic producers and the foregone revenue for the U.S. government must be less than US$500,000 per year. Petitioners will have to demonstrate that they are likely beneficiaries of the requested duty suspensions or reductions, submit disclosure forms and include specific types of information. The USITC will have to publish on its website all petitions that contain the required information and related disclosure forms no later than 30 days after the close of the 60-day filing period. Members of the public will then have 45 days to comment on the petitions and disclosure forms. Once this process is complete, the USITC will submit a final list of approved petitions to Congress, which could approve the MTB in the autumn of 2020.

In the meantime, the USITC is recommending that prospective petitioners establish the correct classification of their goods to maximise their chances for successful MTB petitions.

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