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Legislative Update: Tariff Increases, Miscellaneous Trade Bill, Port Transportation

Monday, July 30, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Tariff Increase Responses. Several new measures seek to ameliorate the effects of the tariffs foreign countries have imposed on U.S. exports in retaliation for the Trump administration’s duty increases on steel, aluminum, and other products. These include H.R. 6395 (introduced July 17 by Rep. DelBene, D-Wash.) and S. 3289 (introduced July 26 by Sen. McCaskill, D-Mo.), which would expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to cover workers who lose their jobs when U.S. exports drop due to retaliatory tariffs; S. 3258 (introduced July 24 by Sen. Heitkamp, D-N.D.) and H.R. 6483 (introduced July 24 by Rep. Blunt Rochester, D-Del.), which would make TAA available to farmers and producers whose exports are hurt by retaliatory tariffs; and H.R. 6396 (introduced July 17 by Rep. Schneider, D-Ill.), which would expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program to include reduced exports resulting from retaliatory tariffs as a qualifying factor for the program.

Other bills introduced in response to the administration’s use of tariffs include the following.

- S. 3230 (introduced July 18 by Sen. Bennett, D-Colo.) would limit increases in duties on imports of steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union and improve congressional oversight of tariffs imposed to protect national security.

- The Automotive Jobs Act of 2018 (S. 3266, introduced July 25 by Sen. Jones, D-Ala.) would delay a potential 25 percent tariff increase on imports of automobiles and auto parts by requiring the International Trade Commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the well-being, health, and vitality of the U.S. automotive industry before tariffs could be applied.

- H.Res.1018 (introduced July 24 by Rep. Pascrell, D-N.J) would respond to the Trump administration’s “chaotic” tariff policy by requiring the White House to submit (a) any documents or communications relating to its decision to impose global, rather than targeted, tariffs on steel and aluminum products, (b) records related to the administration’s strategy for negotiations with the Chinese government to resolve technology transfer and intellectual property problems, and (c) information regarding any plans to mitigate retaliatory tariffs.

MTB. The Senate passed July 26 the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act (H.R. 4318), which would suspend or reduce import duties on hundreds of products through Dec. 31, 2020. The House approved a different version of the MTB earlier this year. If the House approves the Senate bill it will go to the White House for the president’s signature.

Port Transportation. S. 3273, introduced July 25 by Sen. Wicker, R-Miss., seeks to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports.

Mongolia. H.R. 6636 (introduced July 26 by Rep. Yoho, R-Fla.) would authorize duty-free treatment for certain imports from Mongolia.

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