Background

Importers would see lower duties on thousands of imported goods and regain the ability to seek exclusions from punitive tariffs under a recently approved amendment to a wide-ranging bill aimed at improving U.S. competitiveness against China.

The amendment to the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 1260) includes a number of other trade-related provisions as well, including those listed below. However, prospects for Senate approval of S. 1260 as a whole, and action on similar legislation in the House of Representatives, remain uncertain.

Trade Preferences

- reauthorizes the Generalized System of Preferences through Dec. 31, 2026, retroactive to Dec. 31, 2020; adds new mandatory and discretionary country eligibility criteria; and requires the International Trade Commission to study GSP utilization rates, rules of origin, and article eligibility rules

- directs the implementation of the most recent miscellaneous trade bill, which would reduce or eliminate duties on certain imports through Dec. 31, 2023, and reauthorizes the MTB process for two more cycles beginning in 2022 and 2025

Tariffs

- creates a new process for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to follow when imposing Section 301 tariffs that includes consideration of the impact on U.S. entities and consumers and a required exclusion process

- sets forth a new exclusion process for the existing Section 301 tariffs on imports from China and requires USTR to reinstate all exclusions from such tariffs for entries filed on or before Dec. 31, 2022, with retroactivity for certain liquidations and reliquidations

- gives the president limited authority to reduce or suspend duties on any essential medical supply for no more than 180 days

- temporary suspends import duties on articles needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

Forced Labor

- establishes a Forced Labor Division within U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Trade

- provides for the imposition of sanctions relating to serious human rights abuses in connection with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

- directs CBP to (1) issue regulations to ensure no seafood or seafood product harvested or produced using forced labor is imported into the U.S. and (2) develop a strategy for using Seafood Import Monitoring Program data to identify imports at risk of being harvested or produced using forced labor

Supply Chains

- expands the duties of the Interagency Center on Trade Implementation, Monitoring, and Enforcement to include investigating practices of major trading partners that have systemic, diffuse impacts on the economy and U.S. workers or systemic impacts on the resiliency of multiple critical domestic supply chains

- establishes a committee chaired by USTR to examine U.S. trade flows and supply chains for essential supplies and recommend ways to ensure resilient and reliable supply chains

- directs the Commerce Department to annually report statistics related to foreign and domestic sourcing of inputs used by U.S. businesses, including an estimated percentage of total inputs obtained from foreign countries

Counterfeits

- directs CBP to increase inspections of imports of goods from each country identified in a new annual report as one of the top sources of counterfeit goods

- directs USTR to negotiate with U.S. allies on stopping the importation of goods made with stolen intellectual property

Other

- requires USTR to identify foreign trading partners that engage in acts, policies, or practices that disrupt digital trade and designate the worst offenders as priority foreign countries

- requires USTR to report on China’s use of Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. laws and protections, including export controls, antidumping and countervailing duties, Section 301 tariffs, and sanctions

- directs the president to appoint an inspector general for USTR

- authorizes the CBP commissioner to consolidate, modify, or reorganize customs revenue functions

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