Although no suspensions or reductions are currently in effect, temporary duty suspensions and reductions are listed in chapter 99, subchapter II of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Addressing temporary duty suspensions, Congress passed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (the Act) establishing a petition process that will replace these individual miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) introduced by Congressmen. Under the new process, the ITC will receive the MTB petitions directly from the business community and independently conduct analysis while taking comments from the public and Administration. The ITC will then issue a public report to Congress with its analysis and recommendations on products that meet the MTB tests as well as suggested technical changes and adjustments in product scope to protect domestic consumers. The House Ways and Means Committee will then review the list prepared by the ITC and then draft an MTB proposal which will be considered by the House and the Senate. If approved by both the House and the Senate, they will enact the suspension or reduction.

In order for a duty suspension or reduction to qualify under the Act, it must meet a few requirements. First, Congress must determine that: (1) Customs can carry out the suspension or reduction; (2) the estimated loss in revenue to the United States does not exceed $500,000 per year; and (3) the suspension or reduction is available to any person importing that product. Also, Congress can exclude any product that is subject to objection by a Member of Congress or for which there is domestic production. Finally, the Act prohibits any suspension or reduction in which the importer is not a “likely beneficiary.”

Overall, this new process is a great way for companies to get more involved in the duty suspension process and to make their case on why troublesome duties should be reduced or suspended. If your company has an interest in making an MTB Petition, please contact us immediately.  You can also read a copy of the Act here.