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Congress Approves Major Trade Legislation

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Several long-awaited bills that will have a significant impact on the trade community were approved by Congress this week and are expected to soon be signed into law by President Obama.

Legislation to reinstate trade promotion authority was passed by the Senate June 23 following approval by the House of Representatives the previous week. The TPA bill sets forth congressional objectives for trade agreement negotiations and provides for expedited congressional consideration of legislation implementing those agreements. The new grant of TPA will cover the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and any other trade agreement negotiated during a period of up to six years.

Both the House and Senate also approved this week legislation to reauthorize the Generalized System of Preferences through Dec. 31, 2017. This action is retroactive to July 31, 2013, the date GSP expired, meaning that importers will be able to obtain refunds of duties paid since that date on goods otherwise eligible for GSP treatment. In addition, lawmakers modified and extended through Sept. 30, 2025, the duty preferences granted to products imported under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Haiti HOPE and HELP acts.

Included in the approved bills are changes to the antidumping and countervailing duty laws that are meant to make it easier for a petitioning domestic industry to prove injury and to give the Department of Commerce additional discretion in arriving at AD and CV margins against imported goods.

Finally, the House and Senate have agreed to conduct a conference to reconcile their different versions of a trade enforcement and facilitation bill. A final version is expected in the coming weeks, at which point it will have to be approved by each chamber before being sent to the White House for the president’s approval.

For more information on how these bills may affect you, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956..

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