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New Legislation: Tariffs, FTAs, Preclearance, Product Safety, Exports, Cosmetics

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

FTAs. The Protecting America’s Sovereignty Act (H.R. 967, introduced Feb. 13 by Rep. Pocan, D-Wis.) would prohibit the president from entering into a free trade agreement or investment treaty if it includes investor-state dispute settlement provisions, which Pocan asserted that ISDS provisions “could weaken U.S. health, safety and environmental protections.”

Duty-Free Imports. The Low Value Shipment Regulatory Modernization Act (H.R. 978, introduced Feb. 13 by Rep. Schock, R-Ill.) would increase from $200 to $800 for 2016, and to $800 adjusted annually for inflation thereafter, the aggregate retail value in the country of shipment of articles that may be imported duty-free into the U.S. by one person on one day. The bill would also urge the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage other countries to establish commercially meaningful de minimis values for express and postal shipments of articles that are exempt from customs duties and certain entry documentation requirements.

Preclearance Facilities. The Preclearance Authorization Act (H.R. 998, introduced Feb. 13 by Rep. Meehan, R-Pa.) would establish the conditions under which the Department of Homeland Security may establish preclearance facilities, conduct preclearance operations and provide customs services outside the United States.

Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles. The ROV In-Depth Examination Act (H.R. 999, introduced Feb. 13 by Rep. Pompeo, R-Kan.) would direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Academy of Sciences to study the vehicle handling requirements proposed by the Commission for ROVs and to prohibit the adoption of any such requirements until the completion of the study.

John Wayne Airport. H.R. 1051 (introduced Feb. 24 by Rep. Sanchez, D-Calif.) would direct the DHS to designate John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry and remove it from the user fee system.

Trade Adjustment Assistance. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (S. 568, introduced Feb. 25 by Sen. Brown, D-Ohio, and H.R. 1088, introduced Feb. 25 by Rep. Smith, D-Wash.), would extend and improve the TAA program, which is currently scheduled to expire in September. Brown said this legislation would extend TAA through 2020, restore eligibility for service sector and public sector workers who lose their jobs due to trade, and extend eligibility to workers who lose their jobs due to increased imports from countries like China with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement.

Tariff Relief. The Elimination of Tariffs on Education for Children’s (ETEACH) Act (H.R. 1063, introduced Feb. 25 by Rep. Black, R-Tenn.) would eliminate import tariffs on technological goods providing educational value for children.

Exports. The American Natural Gas Security and Consumer Protection Act (S. 585, introduced Feb. 26 by Sen. Markey, D-Mass.) would require the Department of Energy to consider certain factors before approving additional natural gas exports, including impacts on consumers, the U.S. economy, the domestic manufacturing sector, national security and foreign policy.

The Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act (H.R. 1175, introduced Feb. 27 by Rep. Matsui, D-Calif.) would create a $15 million fund to support the development, implementation and sustainability of a National Clean Energy Technology Export Strategy and assist U.S. clean technology firms with assistance in finding and navigating foreign markets to export their goods and services abroad.

Detergent Packets. The Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety Act (S. 588, introduced Feb. 26 by Sen. Durbin, D-Ill., and H.R. 1139, introduced Feb. 26 by Rep. Speier, D-Calif.) would require the CPSC to establish a consumer product safety standard for liquid detergent packets to protect children under the age of five from injury or illness.

Africa. The Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act (H.R. 1103, introduced Feb. 26 by Rep. Smith, D-N.J.) would require the White House to establish within six months a comprehensive strategy for public and private investment, trade and development in Africa. Among other things, this strategy would focus on ways to increase U.S. exports to Africa by at least 200 percent in real dollar value within 10 years.

Israel. S. 619 (introduced March 2 by Sen. Cardin, D-Md.) would establish as a principal trade negotiating objective discouraging activity that discourages, penalizes or otherwise limits commercial relations with Israel.

E-Commerce. The Global Free Internet Act (H.R. 1307, introduced March 4 by Rep. Lofgren, D-Calif.) would create a task force to identify, prioritize and develop a response to policies and practices of the U.S. government, foreign governments or international bodies that present trade barriers to Internet-related goods and services or that threaten the technical operation, security and free flow of global Internet communications.

Freight Transportation. H.R. 1308 (introduced March 4 by Rep. Lowenthal, D-Calif.) would establish a Multimodal Freight Funding Formula Program and a National Freight Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program to improve the efficiency and reliability of freight movement in the U.S.

Cosmetics. The Microbead-Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321, introduced March 4 by Rep. Pallone, D-N.J.) would prohibit the sale or distribution of cosmetics containing synthetic plastic microbeads effective Jan. 1, 2018.

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