New Legislation Introduced on Customs, IPR, Rail Freight Issues
The following trade-related legislation has recently been introduced in the House and/or Senate.
Customs. H.R. 1322 would establish educational seminars at U.S. ports of entry to improve the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel to classify and appraise imported articles in accordance with U.S. customs laws. Lipinski said the bill aims to crack down on import duty avoidance schemes by requiring CBP to seek out companies and trade groups that have information that can identify misclassified and undervalued shipments and ensure that information is shared directly with CBP agents “working on the front lines” (introduced March 21 by Rep. Lipinski, D-Ill., and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means).
S. 662 would reauthorize the trade facilitation and trade enforcement functions and activities of CBP (introduced March 22 by Sen. Baucus, D-Mont., and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance).
H.R. 1388 would extend the temporary suspension of duty on bitolylene diisocyanate (introduced March 21 by Rep. Shea-Porter and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means).
IPR. S. 660 would establish the position of chief innovation and intellectual property negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (introduced March 22 by Sen. Hatch, R-Utah, and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance). This official would be responsible for representing the interests of U.S. workers, manufacturers, service providers, innovators and content creators, conducting trade negotiations and enforcing trade agreements relating to U.S. intellectual property, taking appropriate actions to address acts, policies and practices of foreign governments that have a significant adverse impact on the value of U.S. innovation, and providing input into a new report to the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees on actions undertaken by USTR to advance U.S. innovation and IPR interests and enforcement actions taken to protect those interests.
S. 647 would modify the prohibition on recognition by U.S. courts of certain rights relating to certain marks, trade names or commercial names (introduced March 21 by Sen. Nelson, D-Fla., and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary).
Rail Freight. S. 638 would eliminate the railroad antitrust exemptions that allow freight railroad companies to take advantage of their market dominance, resulting in higher shipping rates for businesses and agricultural producers in rural communities that often have access to only one rail company to ship their goods (introduced March 21 by Sen. Klobuchar, D-Minn., and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary).
Catfish. S. 632 (introduced March 21 by Sen. McCain, R-Ariz., and referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry) and H.R. 1313 (introduced March 21 by Rep. Hartzler, R-Mo., and referred to the House Committee on Agriculture) would repeal a duplicative program relating to inspection and grading of catfish.