The Senate Finance Committee, in conjunction with the House Ways and Means Committee, is expected to soon announce a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) process for 2009, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.
Boian, director of trade policy at the OIA, said in a statement that while the House Ways and Means Committee completed an MTB process last year, the Senate Finance Committee has delayed action on the MTB due to a disagreement as to how to proceed with disclosures of those who actively work on such legislation. OIA's conversations with Committee staff found that a deal has been reached between the Chairman and Ranking Members of the Finance Committee allowing a process to proceed.
Some have speculated, however, that the additional delay may be due to the fact that none of the pending free trade agreements – Colombia, Panama and South Korea – have seen any committee activity. The OIA expects, though, a process to be announced before the August Congressional recess.
The miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) is a (usually) biennial legislative process in Congress through which temporary, three year duty suspensions are granted on specific products (classified by their 8 or 10 digit tariff line in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule) that have been certified to have no U.S. domestic production. The MTB has become an increasingly valuable tool for many outdoor businesses who unnecessarily pay disproportionately high tariffs on their products.
Boian said it has been helping a large number of members draft legislative language for MTBs on a wide range of outdoor products and assisting those members with their members of Congress to get the bills introduced as soon as the process is announced. If your company would like to explore the possibility of an MTB on your products, please contact me.
Boian noted that the U.S. OUTDOOR Act, legislation developed by OIA, outdoor apparel manufacturers and the U.S. domestic textile and apparel industry, will be introduced in the House and Senate later this week.
He also noted that the U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA)/Department of Commerce (DOC) has made a preliminary finding that certain polyester staple fiber from China (HTSUS 5503.20.0045 and 5503.20.0065) used to fill sleeping bags and ski jackets has been sold below normal value into the United States. A final finding is expected to be made by the ITA within 180 days and should that finding confirm dumping of the PSF, ITA will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to assess antidumping duties on imports from China.
For more information on these and other OIA Government Affairs issues, please contact me or check the Current Issues page on the OIA website.