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.

Shipping. The Senate Commerce Committee approved March 22 the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (S. 3580), legislation similar to but not as wide-ranging as a bill introduced last year in the House and included in a House-passed bill to increase U.S. competitiveness vis-à-vis China. The Senate bill would make it harder for ocean carriers to turn away goods for export and give the Federal Maritime Commission greater authority to regulate harmful practices by carriers.

The committee also approved March 22 the Facilitating Relief for Efficient Intermodal Gateways to Handle Transportation Act (S. 3262), which aims to improve the efficient movement of freight at U.S. ports by (1) establishing a new grant program at the Department of Transportation, (2) requiring a new study on documentation and terms used in freight transportation, (3) requiring the monthly publication of statistics on the dwell time of equipment used in intermodal transportation, (4) requiring the development of best practices for on-terminal or near-terminal chassis pools, (5) enhancing protections against retaliation by carriers and OTIs against shippers, (6) etc.

China. H.R. 7193 (introduced March 21 by Reps. Smith, R-N.J., and Suozzi, D-N.Y.) would withdraw normal trade relations treatment from products of China and require an annual affirmation by the president that Beijing is making serious and sustained improvement in respecting human rights for such products to receive NTR treatment in the future.

Ports. The Preventing Labor Union Slowdowns Act (S. 3912, introduced March 24 by Sen. Risch, R-Idaho) would establish labor slowdowns by maritime workers, efforts by labor unions to block modernization efforts at U.S. ports, and refusals to work automated vessels as unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act.

Imports. H.R. 7207 (introduced March 24 by Rep. Donalds, R-Fla.) would prohibit imports of petroleum products from Venezuela.

H.R. 7222 (introduced March 24 by Reps. Stauber, R-Minn., and Gonzalez, D-Texas) would prohibit imports of uranium from Russia.

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