President Obama Signs American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016


Law Modifies Process For Duty Suspensions And Reductions -

On May 20, 2016, President Obama signed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 into law (the Act). The Act restores the ability of the U.S. Congress to consider so-called Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) legislation. Under this mechanism, duties may be eliminated or reduced for a period of up to three years on imported articles not otherwise available in the United States. The prior version of the MTB program expired on December 31, 2012. Renewal provides the U.S. manufacturing sector with the potential for relief from higher costs imposed by import duties on articles that cannot be sourced domestically.

The Act was drafted with the intent of providing greater transparency into the MTB process. Under the prior process, potential beneficiaries lobbied individual Members of Congress to introduce tariff suspension legislation. The new MTB framework will rely more heavily on the expertise of the non-partisan U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC or Commission). The ITC is an independent, quasi-judicial Federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade, including the collection and analysis of trade data in order to assist Congress in the development of sound and informed U.S. trade policy. The ITC is also charged with maintaining the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

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