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Legislative Update: Exports, Tariffs, Taxation, Trade Promotion, Tobacco

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Exports. The Small Scale LNG Access Act (S. 816, introduced March 14 by Sen. Cassidy, R-La.) would expedite approval of natural gas exports equal to or less than 51.1 billion cubic feet per year.

Lacey Act. H.R. 1776 (introduced March 14 by Reps. Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.) would amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to prohibit the importation, exportation, transportation, sale, receipt, acquisition, and purchase in interstate or foreign commerce, or in a manner substantially affecting interstate or foreign commerce, of any live animal of any prohibited wildlife species.

Tariffs. The Automotive Jobs Act (H.R. 1710, introduced March 13 by Reps. Sewell, D-Ala., and Upton, R-Mich.) would require the International Trade Commission to complete a comprehensive study on the economic importance of automotive manufacturing in the U.S. before Section 232 tariffs could be applied on automobiles and auto parts.

Taxation. The No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act (S. 779, introduced March 13 by Sen. Whitehouse, D-R.I.; and H.R. 1725, introduced March 13 by Rep. Doggett, D-Texas) would seek to end offshore corporate tax avoidance by ensuring that multinational companies pay the same tax rate on profits earned abroad as they do in the U.S.

Tobacco Imports. The Combating the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Act (H.R. 1642, introduced March 8 by Rep. Jackson Lee, D-Texas) would require the Department of State to report annually on which countries are determined to be a major source of illicit tobacco products or their components and identify which foreign governments are actively engaged and knowingly profiting from this trade. The department would have the ability to withhold U.S. foreign assistance from the latter group of countries. In addition, the bill would authorize the president to impose economic sanctions and travel restrictions on any foreign individual found to be engaged in the illicit tobacco trade. Jackson Lee explained that this trade “facilitates other, more heinous crimes including money laundering and trafficking in weapons, drugs, antiquities, diamonds, counterfeit goods, and—worst of all—human beings.”

Trade Promotion. The Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act (H.R. 1704, introduced March 13 by Rep. McCaul, R-Texas) 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.

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

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