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Legislative Update: China, Cuba, Freight Transport, Trade Promotion, Etc.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

China. The China Technology Transfer Control Act (S. 1459, introduced May 14 by Sen. Hawley, R-Mo.) would place all “core technologies” from China’s “Made in 2025” strategy (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, advanced construction equipment) on the Department of Commerce’s export control list, which would require companies to obtain licenses to export such technologies to China and impose sanctions on foreign entities and individuals that violate these restrictions. This bill would also formally admonish China for intellectual property theft and manipulation of the lawful transfer and uses of technology in ways that directly support its military objectives and threaten the U.S.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Act (H.R. 2565, introduced May 7 by Reps. Sherman, D-Calif., and Gallagher, R-Wis.) seeks to reduce the U.S. government’s reliance on supply chains in China and push back on Beijing’s unfair trading practices by implementing many of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s recommendations. Among other things, this bill would require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to assess whether it is in the national interest to bring a complaint against China at the World Trade Organization in coordination with U.S. allies and partners; require the director of national intelligence to report on the effect of China’s existing and potential facilities along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the New Maritime Silk Road on freedom of navigation, sea control, and U.S. interests;; and require USTR to report on China’s trade-distorting practices and what it is doing to counteract their anticompetitive impact.

Cuba. The Agricultural Export Expansion Act (S. 1447, introduced May 14 by Sens. Bennet, D-Colo., and Boozman, R-Ark.) would allow private financing by U.S. persons of sales of agricultural commodities to Cuba.

Federal Regulation. The Early Participation in Regulations Act (S. 1419, introduced May 13 by Sens. Lankford, R-Okla., and Sinema, D-Ariz.) would require federal agencies to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for rules costing more than $100 million annually. Agencies would have to outline the problems these rules intend to solve and consider public input before regulations are finalized.

The Setting Manageable Analysis Requirements in Text Act (S. 1420, introduced by Sens. Lankford and Sinema) seeks to improve the effectiveness of major rules in accomplishing their regulatory objectives by requiring federal agencies to set metrics for how rules will be measured for success in the future and use those metrics to review the rules within ten years.

Freight Transportation. The National Multimodal and Sustainable Freight Infrastructure Act (H.R. 2723, introduced May 14 by Rep. Lowenthal, D-Calif.) would establish a Freight Transportation Infrastructure Trust Fund funded by a national one percent waybill fee on the transportation cost of goods. These revenues would be dedicated to freight-related infrastructure projects, with a focus on multimodal projects and those that rebuild aging infrastructure while relieving bottlenecks in the freight transportation system.

Trade Promotion. The House of Representatives approved May 7 the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act (H.R. 1704), which seeks to bolster U.S. business competitiveness abroad by prioritizing economic and commercial diplomacy. Among other things, this bill would authorize an assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, require U.S. diplomats to promote U.S. economic and business interests abroad and report on their economic and commercial priorities and activities, and mandate economic and commercial diplomacy training for foreign service officers.

Yacht Imports. The Maritime Industries Relief Act (H.R. 2725, introduced May 14 by Rep. Mast, R-Fla.) would provide duty-free treatment for the sale of used yachts. Specifically, this bill would repeal the duty payment imposed on pre-owned dutiable foreign-flagged boats offered for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters, including motorboats, sailboats, canoes, and rowboats.

For more information on pursuing trade policy interests through the legislative process, please contact trade consultant Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956.

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