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New Legislation: Tariffs, Cuba, Outsourcing, Labeling

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Tariffs. The Global Trade Accountability Act (S. 177, introduced Jan. 20 by Sen. Lee, R-Utah) would require the president to secure a joint resolution approved by both houses of Congress before any unilateral trade action (e.g., the imposition of import tariffs) could take effect. The bill allows for exceptions for national emergencies but only for 90 days. Lee said that sudden tariff increases like those threatened by President Trump “could wreak havoc on many small and midsize manufacturers … that rely on imports and globally connected supply chains” and that as a result “Congress must be involved in any decision that would increase barriers to trade.”

Cuba. The Cuba Trade Act (H.R. 442, introduced Jan. 11 by Rep. Emmer, R-Minn.) would lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and allow U.S. private sector businesses to trade freely with that country while prohibiting taxpayer funds from being used on promotion or development of the Cuban market.

H.R. 498 (introduced Jan. 12 by Rep. Cramer, R-N.D.) would authorize the exportation of consumer communication devices and the provision of telecommunications services to Cuba.

H.R. 525 (introduced Jan. 13 by Rep. Crawford, R-Ark.) would modify the prohibition on U.S. assistance and financing for certain exports to Cuba under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

H.R. 572 (introduced Jan. 13 by Rep. Serrano, D-N.Y.) would facilitate the export of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba, remove impediments to the export of medical devices and medicines to Cuba, allow travel to Cuba by U.S. legal residents, and establish an agricultural export promotion program with respect to Cuba.

H.R. 574 (introduced Jan. 13 by Rep. Serrano, D-N.Y.) would lift the trade embargo on Cuba.

Labeling. S. 118 (introduced Jan. 12 by Sen. Lee, R-Utah) would make exclusive the authority of the federal government to regulate the labeling of products made in the United States and introduced in interstate or foreign commerce.

Outsourcing. The Overseas Outsourcing Accountability Act (H.R. 357, introduced Jan. 6 by Rep. Bustos, D-Ill.) would require the president to develop and release a comprehensive national strategy to prevent U.S. employers from overseas outsourcing and offshoring practices that impact the U.S. workforce and allow Congress to measure the success of this strategy every two years.

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