Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Monday, December 9, 2019
Since 1982, nearly every Congress has passed legislation to temporarily reduce or suspend tariffs on certain imported products and make technical corrections to U.S. tariff laws. Although the official title of the bill varies from year to year, it is usually referred to simply as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill ("MTB") The duty suspensions and reductions are designed to boost the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers by lowering the cost of imported inputs without harming domestic firms that produce competing products. In addition, in the case of finished goods, MTBs similarly reduce costs for consumers where there is no domestic production and thus no impact on domestic firms. Overall, the tariff relief contained in MTBs is designed both to be broadly available to any entity that imports and pays duties pursuant to the specified tariff heading and to benefit downstream producers, purchasers, and consumers.
To be included in the MTB, a tariff modification (e.g. duty suspension or reduction) must:
- be non-controversial,
- cost under $500,000 per year, and
- be administrable.
In determining whether an MTB meets these criteria, each bill undergoes a thorough vetting process by the Committee; the independent U.S. International Trade Commission ("ITC") and the Administration, including the Department of Commerce ("DOC") and U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"); and is scored by the Congressional Budget Office ("CBO").