The first miscellaneous trade bill process in six years is set to get underway Oct. 14 when the International Trade Commission starts accepting public petitions for import duty suspensions or reductions as directed by the MTB reform bill approved by Congress and signed into law earlier this year. Each approved duty modification can result in savings of up to $500,000 per year.

The revamped MTB process will begin with petitions submitted to the ITC rather than via legislation introduced by members of Congress. The ITC is expected to publish Oct. 14 a notice opening a 60-day period for petitions to be filed (click here for details on petition requirements). The ITC will analyze the petitions submitted, taking into account comments received from the public and the White House, and submit a final report to Congress with specific recommendations. A comprehensive MTB will then be drafted and considered by the House and Senate within existing rules. Any approved changes could be effective as early as July 2017 and would remain in effect for three years, with the possibility of further renewal.

It is critical that duty modification petitions be timely submitted, include the required information, and meet the specified criteria. For each petition there must be no federal revenue loss exceeding $500,000, no or insufficient domestic production and availability, and no opposition from domestic concerns. Each provision must also be enforceable by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Petitions (including amended petitions) filed after Dec. 13 or filed improperly will not be considered, and importers will have to wait until October 2019 for another opportunity.

While the MTB is primarily used to secure tariff changes, it also offers an opportunity to seek minor technical corrections to U.S. trade laws. Although the MTB process beginning Oct. 14 will not consider these requests, interested companies should begin working with Congress now ahead of a potential MTB in 2017.

ST&R will host a webinar Oct. 13 to review the new MTB process in more detail – click here for more information or to register.


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