NAM: Legislators reach deal on trade legislation

From NAM’s Manufacturing Economy Daily 

The Hill (12/9, Needham) reports that, following “months of behind-the-scenes negotiations,” House and Senate lawmakers announced a deal on a “measure that funds the US Customs and Border Protection agency, streamlines rules to stop importers from skirting US antidumping and countervailing duties, adds new protections for intellectual property and provides more tools to crack down on currency manipulation.”

The deal has two of the “top priorities” for the Senate Finance Committee’s ranking member, Sen. Ron Wyden (D): “a new trust fund for trade enforcement and making the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center a permanent agency.”

NAM vice president of international economic affairs Linda Dempsey commented that “Manufacturers strongly support this long overdue step to update our customs and border policies and put in place effective trade enforcement mechanisms.”

However, Dempsey added that manufacturers are “highly disappointed by the failure to agree to the concrete and commonsense Miscellaneous Tariff Bill reform process proposed by the Senate that would have eliminated an unnecessary tax on manufacturers.”

In a piece for the Shopfloor (12/10), NAM Director for International Trade Policy Ken Monahan writes that “by excluding a concrete new Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process” from the bill, Congress has “squandered” an opportunity to enact legislation that garnered “broad bicameral, bipartisan support,” legislation that “would eliminate longstanding distortions in the U.S. tariff code by temporarily eliminating taxes on imported products not available in the United States.”

Monahan points out that without the MTB, manufacturers of all sizes and sectors “are paying higher taxes on essential inputs and other products,” which causes a “significant increase in manufacturing costs, making the company less competitive globally.”

In a separate Shopfloor (12/10) piece, Dempsey notes the “key” parts of the customs bill, including provisions that “eliminate red tape, unneeded border delays and outdated processes.” Dempsey states that the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act gives US manufacturers “injured by unfair trade an effective new enforcement tool to address the growing evasion of U.S. trade rules,” and the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program reauthorization helps small businesses “better meet the challenges of exporting to new markets overseas.”

According to Bloomberg BNA (12/10, Flood), the agreement reached by lawmakers “would reauthorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection, strengthen antidumping and countervailing duty enforcement and add new protections for intellectual property.” On the issue of currency manipulation, “the bill would require the Treasury Department to regularly report on the exchange rate policies of every major U.S. trading partner” and take action if a nations fails to remediate currency issues by “prohibiting the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from approving any new financing for projects located in that country.”

World Trade Online (12/10, Subscription Publication) further details the bill and procedures it establishes for “Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to follow when investigating” the “evasion of trade remedy duties,” noting that the bill’s final version does not “preclude anyone from proceeding with a civil, criminal or administrative investigation pursuant to other provisions of federal and state law” based on a “duty evasion determination.”

The article quotes Dempsey as saying that the provisions of the bill will “impact a broad range of manufacturers, improving their ability to trade and to ensure that unfair foreign trade practices are addressed.” However, Dempsey “expressed disappointment over the conferees’ failure to agree on language to reform the process of drafting miscellaneous tariff bills.”

A piece written in Politico Pro (12/10) highlights that the NAM was “highly disappointed” that lawmakers “did not include a Senate provision that would reform how Congress constructs” the MTB. Should NAM members want to read the full article for free, they may contact National Association of Manufacturers Account Manager Molly Fluet at mfluet@politico.com.

WSJournal Praises Permanent Extension Of Internet Tax Freedom Act. A Wall Street Journal (12/10, Subscription Publication) editorial praises the decision by a House-Senate conference committee to approve a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act as part of a conference report on a trade facilitation bill, saying the move sends a rarely-seen pro-growth, pro-consumer message from Washington.

 

Associated Industries of Missouri is the sole official designated partner of the National Association of Manufacturers in Missouri.