In major win for Manufacturers, U.S. Senate sends Miscellaneous Tariff Bill to President

The Hill (5/10, Needham) reports the Senate “passed by unanimous consent” Tuesday a “long-delayed” Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, or MTB, which would streamline the government’s process for reducing or eliminating duties on inputs and products US manufacturers must import because they’re unavailable or in short supply domestically.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) lauded the vote result as a crucial boost to manufacturers’ global competitiveness, The Hill says. Noting that business groups have been pressing Congress to renew MTB provisions since they expired in 2012, the story quotes NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons as calling Tuesday’s passage “a major victory and proof that Senate and House leaders have listened to manufacturers’ calls for action.” He added, “We urge the president to sign the bill quickly as it will eliminate unnecessary border taxes that have been costing manufacturers in the United States hundreds of millions of dollars and undermining their competitiveness.”

Politico Pro (Subscription Publication, 5/10, Palmer), which also quotes from Timmons’ statement, explains that the overarching measure passed Tuesday “gets around the House Republican ban on earmarks” by requiring the Commerce Department’s International Trade Commission “to vet company requests for temporary tariff relief, instead of leaving that job to lawmakers.” Since the last MTB expired more than three years ago, manufacturers have experienced an annual $748 million tax increase while the economy has lost $1.86 billion loss, according to NAM data cited by Politico. Members who want to read the full article for free may contact NAM account manager Molly Fluet at mfluet@politico.com.

Bloomberg Government (Subscription Publication, 5/10, Bracken) explains that the Senate passed the same version (H.R. 4923) of the MTB measure the House approved April 27. Once enacted, the legislation will allow US companies to petition the ITC “to cut or suspend” tariffs on specific items not produced in the US, Bloomberg says.