Background

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

Cargo Scanning. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported Sept. 9 the Securing America’s Ports Act (H.R. 5273), which would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan to increase to 100 percent the rate of scanning commercial and passenger vehicles entering the U.S. at land border ports of entry using large-scale non-intrusive inspection systems. The House of Representatives approved this bill Feb. 10.

CBP. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported Sept. 9 the Securing America’s Ports of Entry Act (S. 1004), which would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire, train, and assign at least 600 new Office of Field Operations officers every fiscal year until the total number of OFO officers equals and sustains the requirements identified each year in the workload staffing model.

China. H.R. 8163 (introduced Sept. 4 by Rep. Barr, R-Ky.) would limit Export-Import Bank support for deals with Chinese state-owned enterprises, except that that Bank could provide a working capital guarantee or export credit insurance to a U.S. exporter. However, any such transaction involving $25 million or more would be subject to a determination that it does not violate U.S. national security interests. This bill would also revise the bank’s Program on China and Transformational Exports by (1) increasing the percent of the bank’s financing capacity allocated to it from 20 percent to 33 percent, (2) increasing the default rate requiring the bank to suspend loan authority under the program from two percent to five percent, (3) establishing an advisory committee, and (4) waiving domestic content requirements for certain transactions.

Intellectual Property Rights. The Advancing America’s Interests Act (H.R. 8037, introduced Aug. 14 by Rep. DelBene, D-Wash.) aims to prevent the International Trade Commission from abusing its authority to ban imports of goods found to be violating U.S. intellectual property rights. According to a press release from DelBene’s office, this bill would establish an appropriate domestic industry standard providing that a U.S. company could not be used as a plaintiff or complainant in an Section 337 proceeding before the ITC unless it voluntarily joins a complaint requesting ITC relief. It would also require the ITC to affirmatively determine that any order excluding infringing goods from entering the U.S. serves the public interest. DelBene explained that patent licensing entities have abused the ITC process for financial gain in recent years and that this bill would help protect U.S. businesses from unfair and unjustified claims.

Seafood. H.R. 8146 (introduced Sept. 1 by Rep. Higgins, R-La.) would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safety of imported seafood.

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