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USITC Seeks Comments on Petitions Seeking Duty Suspensions or Reductions

The U.S. International Trade Commission has established 24 February as the deadline for public comments on petitions seeking duty suspensions or reductions under the miscellaneous trade bill process revised and reinstated by the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016. All such petitions timely filed with the USITC have been available on the USITC’s website for review and comment since 11 January.

The USITC states that it is particularly interested in receiving comments from domestic producers with respect to (i) whether they produce an article that is identical to, like or directly competitive with an article named in a petition and (ii) if they do, whether they object to the petition. The USITC is also interested in receiving comments from individuals and entities who believe they would be a likely beneficiary of a particular duty suspension or reduction or who, having been named in the petition or another comment as a likely beneficiary, wish to state that they would not be a likely beneficiary.

Comments on these petitions may only be filed electronically via the USITC’s designated secure web portal and in the format designated in that portal. Commenters must be prepared to complete their entire comment when they enter the portal, which will not allow them to edit, amend or complete the comment at a later time. Following the comment period the USITC will submit preliminary (in June) and final (in August) reports to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees on the petitions received.

The reports will include the USITC’s analysis and recommendations regarding each petition, including whether there is domestic production of the article, whether the estimated loss in revenues due to the duty suspension or reduction exceeds US$500,000, and whether the duty suspension or reduction will be available to any person importing the article. The USITC is required to classify the petitions into categories based on whether (i) the petition meets the requirements for inclusion in an MTB, (ii) the USITC recommends inclusion in an MTB with specified technical changes, changes in product scope, or adjustment in the amount of duty reduction, (iii) the USITC recommends against inclusion in an MTB because the petition does not meet the requirements or the petitioner is not a likely beneficiary, and (iv) the USITC otherwise recommends not including the petition. Congress will make the final decision regarding the imported articles to be included in an MTB.

Congress considers temporary suspensions and reductions of duties on imported goods in order to boost the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers without harming domestic companies that make competing products. In the case of finished goods, the MTB aims to provide duty relief to consumers where there is no domestic production and no impact on U.S. companies. Many of the items currently under consideration for duty suspensions or reductions are of potential interest to Hong Kong and mainland Chinese exporters.

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