Background

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

Exports. The Values in Arms Export Act (H.R. 7367, introduced April 1 by Rep. Jacobs, D-Calif.) would update the Arms Export Control Act to specify the principles of reasonable behavior and compliance with human rights and laws of war that the U.S. demands from states purchasing U.S. weapons. Under this bill, Congress, the Executive Branch, or a newly-created Human Rights and Law of War Oversight Board could designate a nation as a country of concern if it violates these principles. If a country commits further violations during a three-year period after such designation, is designated a second time within ten years, or fails to make sufficient progress in reforms, the country would be banned from arms sales for ten years. The bill would also designate Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as countries of concern. 

Ports. The Preventing Labor Union Slowdowns Act (H.R. 7396, introduced April 5 by Rep. Budd, R-N.C.) would prohibit labor organizations from blocking modernization efforts at U.S. ports.  

Russia. President Biden signed into law April 8 H.R. 7108, which (1) authorizes the president to suspend normal trade relations status for goods imported from Russia and Belarus through Jan. 1, 2024, thus increasing import duties on such goods, (2) requires the U.S. trade representative to seek to suspend Russia’s participation in the World Trade Organization and halt Belarus’ WTO accession, and (3) authorizes the president to restore NTR with Russia and Belarus once they have ceased their acts of aggression against Ukraine and other certain conditions are met.

Biden also signed into law April 8 H.R. 6968, which prohibits imports of energy products from Russia.

Tariffs. S. 3995 (introduced April 5 by Sen. Paul, R-Ky.) would provide for permanent duty-free treatment on imports of basketballs.

Trade agencies. On April 5 the House passed H.R. 4476, which would codify two existing entities with the Department of Homeland Security: the Trade and Economic Security Council and the position of assistant secretary for trade and economic security.

Trade agreements. The Protecting American Innovation Act (H.R. 7430, introduced April 6 by Rep. Smith, R-Neb.) would (1) require USTR to notify and consult with Congress when negotiating any suspension or modification of U.S. trade agreements, including any COVID-related TRIPS waivers, (2) require USTR to provide notice in the Federal Register of its goals in the negotiations and allow for public comment, and (3) reassert congressional authority over trade matters by allowing Senate Finance and Ways and Means committee leaders to designate members and staff as official advisors to negotiations.

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