Background

For more information on pursuing trade policy interests through the legislative process, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson.

Cargo Scanning. The Senate amended and approved Dec. 7 the Securing America’s Ports Act (H.R. 5273), which would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop within 180 days a plan to increase to 100 percent the rate of scanning commercial and passenger vehicles and freight rail traffic entering the U.S. at land border ports of entry using large-scale non-intrusive inspection systems or similar technology. This plan must include benchmarks for incremental progress over the next six years. The House of Representatives approved the amended version Dec. 10.

China. H.R. 8831 (introduced Dec. 2 by Rep. Buck, R-Colo.) would codify the denial of export privileges against nations that violate U.S. law and steal intellectual property.

GSP. H.R. 8884 (introduced Dec. 7 by Rep. Blumenauer, D-Ore.) would extend the Generalized System of Preferences for six months and update it as follows.

- require a review of the GSP rules of origin and utilization rates of beneficiary countries to make sure the most economically vulnerable countries are able to fully take advantage of the program

- require a periodic assessment of each beneficiary country’s compliance with the eligibility criteria

- add human rights, rule of law, good governance, and anti-corruption criteria

- include an environmental criterion that would create parity with the existing labor criterion

- require a survey of laws related to women and worker rights

Separately, the Trade Preference Reform and Worker Protection Act (S. 4976, introduced Dec. 8 by Sen. Hawley, R-Mo.) would automatically halt GSP benefits if the U.S. unemployment rate exceeds four percent. It would also exclude from GSP any beneficiary country designated by the Department of Labor as suspected of exporting goods produced by forced or child labor.

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