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Tariff Reduction Bill Procedures Changed as 15 October Opening Date Nears

The U.S. International Trade Commission is amending its rules on the submission and consideration of petitions for duty suspensions and reductions under the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016, which reformed the miscellaneous trade bill process. The USITC states that these changes principally (i) require petitions and comments to include certain additional information, (ii) clarify and provide additional instructions with respect to information to be included in petitions and comments, and (iii) revise the requirement regarding when petitions may be withdrawn.

Among the changes being made are the following:

  • requires petitions to include (i) an estimate of both total value and dutiable value in U.S. dollars for the next five calendar years, (ii) an estimate of the share of total imports represented by the petitioner’s imports of the subject article, (iii) the names of any domestic producers of the article, if available, and (iv) a certification that the information supplied is complete and correct to the best of the petitioner’s knowledge and belief and that the petitioner understands that this information is subject to audit and verification by the USITC;
  • clarifies that when a petitioner has filed one or more identical or overlapping petitions the USITC will consider the one filed earliest to be the petition of record;
  • sets a deadline of 30 days after the USITC submits its preliminary report for petitions to be withdrawn;
  • specifies information that must be included in a comment, including certain information about the commenter; a statement about whether the comment supports, opposes or takes no position on the petition; and a certification statement;
  • requires comments from domestic producers to include (i) a description of the product alleged to be identical, like or directly competitive with the product that is the subject of the petition; (ii) the Chemical Abstracts Services registry number (if any); (iii) certain information about production or likely production of an identical, like or directly competitive article within the United States; (iv) a statement as to whether the product is generally available for sale (and, if not, why); (v) addresses for the locations of U.S. production facilities; and (vi) evidence demonstrating the existence of domestic production and citing possible examples.

The USITC states that it is retaining a requirement that the product description be sufficiently clear as to be administrable by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The agency is therefore not adopting a proposal that would have required petitions to (i) describe the article based on the existing HTSUS description at the 8- or 10-digit level or (ii) delineate an article representing a subset of the coverage of the applicable HTSUS category using terminology already included in the HTSUS or interpreted in pertinent CBP rulings.

The next opportunity to request MTBs will open on 15 October. 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. 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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