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Legislative Update: Tariffs, Exports to China, Counterfeiting, Export Finance, Tobacco

Tuesday, July 02, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Tariffs. The Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act (H.R. 3477, introduced June 25 by Rep. Murphy, D-Fla.) would limit the authority of the executive branch to impose or modify import tariffs. According to a press release from Murphy’s office, under this bill the president would retain authority to impose new or additional tariffs for national security purposes, but such tariffs could not last for more than 120 days unless Congress authorized them through an affirmative vote. The bill would also require the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to provide Congress with clear goals and the strategy behind any proposed Section 301 tariffs, provide a mechanism for Congress to block such tariffs through a joint resolution of disapproval, require the International Trade Commission to provide Congress with analyses of proposed tariff actions, and require a presidential administration to formally consult with relevant congressional committees prior to taking a tariff action.

Separately, H.R. 3557 (introduced June 27 by Rep. DelBene, D-Wash.), would amend the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to prohibit its use to impose import duties. President Trump recently threatened to use this law to justify the imposition of additional ten percent tariffs on all imports from Mexico over a dispute about illegal immigration.

Exports to China. The China Technology Transfer Control Act (H.R. 3532, introduced June 27 by Rep. Green, R-Tenn.) would place all core technologies from China’s “Made in China 2025” strategy (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, etc.) on the Department of Commerce’s “export control list” (presumably the Commerce Control List), which would require companies to obtain a license to export such technologies to China. The bill would also impose sanctions on foreign entities and individuals that violate these controls by transferring these core technologies to China.

Counterfeiting. The Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act (H.R. 3559, introduced June 27 by Reps. Espaillat, D-N.Y., and Cook, R-Calif.) would halt exports of electronic waste to China to ensure that it does not become the source of counterfeit goods that may re-enter military and civilian electronics supply chains in the U.S. Instead, the bill would require domestic recycling of all untested and non-working electronics.

Export Finance. The U.S. Export Finance Agency Act (H.R. 3407, introduced June 21 by Rep. Waters, D-Calif.) would rename the Export-Import Bank as the Export Finance Agency and make a number of reforms to this agency to promote U.S. leadership and innovation, improve agency operations, and enhance transparency and accountability.

Tobacco. S. 1965, introduced June 25 by Sen. Wicker, R-Miss., would authorize actions with respect to foreign countries engaged in illicit trade in tobacco products or their precursors.

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