Wednesday, April 22, 2015

McCaskill, Portman, Toomey Keep Up Bipartisan Efforts to Support Tariff Reform for American Manufacturers

On April 22, 2015, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (Dem, Missouri) announced that, along with Republican Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, she had introduced the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act (S.998), a bill to reform the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. The legislation builds on the Senators’ efforts to simplify trade processes for America’s manufacturers and guard against the return of Congressional earmarks.

The legislation is a bipartisan effort to reform the process for the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill ("MTB") while providing a path forward to passing needed tariff relief for American manufacturers who depend on hard-to-access inputs. The bill would simplify the MTB process by allowing companies to apply for tariff relief directly, while preserving transparency, increasing access to tariff relief for American companies, and breaking the log-jam on the MTB created by the earmark moratorium.

The MTB provides tariff relief for U.S. companies that need to import product inputs from abroad because there is no U.S. manufacturer. Often the products are specialized chemicals or fibers that are needed to make high tech finished goods. In these cases, tariff relief can mean the difference between manufacturing in the U.S. and relocating abroad.

The most significant change from past MTBs is that, while congressional sponsorship of a duty suspension is still an option, persons wanting a duty suspension need not secure a congressional sponsor, but may file a request with the U.S. International Trade Commission. The bill also erects and timeline for the MTB process. Agathon Associates' clients and subscribers to the Trade Advisor service can read an analysis of the bill at You will need your username and password. If you have forgotten your user name and password, email David Trumbull at

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