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Miscellaneous Trade Bill Offers Big Duty Savings for Importers and Manufacturers

Thursday, July 18, 2013
STR Client Advisory

A long-awaited miscellaneous trade bill (H.R. 2708) introduced in the House of Representatives July 17 presents cost-conscious U.S. importers and manufacturers with an opportunity to significantly lower the tariffs they pay on imported goods and components. The MTB would lower or eliminate through the end of 2015 duties on hundreds of products sourced from all over the world, and if enacted is expected to yield savings totaling millions of dollars.
In general, a product is eligible for inclusion in the MTB if the impact on U.S. government revenue of suspending or lowering its tariff is less than $500,000 per year and there is no domestic production of the same or a similar product. Congress traditionally considers a new MTB during each two-year session, but when that did not occur in 2012 the duty breaks provided under the last MTB expired as of Jan. 1, 2013.
H.R. 2708 would restore most of those expired tariff suspensions or reductions. While the bill does not currently provide for such restoration to be retroactive, meaning importers would not be able to seek refunds of duties paid on covered items this year, this issue is still under discussion. The MTB would also expand reduced duty treatment to a number of additional goods. All of these provisions would be reflected in heading 9902 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S.
Congress is interested in hearing from those eager to secure MTB approval. If you would like to support the MTB or if you have questions about it, please contact David Olave, or Nicole B. Collinson, at 202-216-9307.

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