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Representatives Should Support Critical Tariff Reforms

by Nan Swift / /

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 4923, the “American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016.” This bipartisan legislation, which passed out of the Ways and Means Committee unanimously, would establish a commonsense process for consideration of Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs), reducing costs for American companies and consumers.

MTBs, the temporary suspension of import duties imposed on manufacturing inputs not produced in the United States, have been stalled for years out of an abundance of caution over transparency, accountability, and potential favoritism. In the intervening years, these unnecessary tariffs have levied a $748 million annual tax on U.S. manufacturers and a $1.857 billion economic loss over the past three years, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

H.R. 4923 would reform the MTB process by requiring companies seeking relief to petition the International Trade Commission (ITC) directly. The ITC, in turn, would make recommendations to Congress who can remove, but not add, to the list. In addition, similarly to other regulatory actions, comments regarding the petitions will be available online on the Federal Register, increasing transparency. These procedural revisions should alleviate past concerns.

At the same time, lawmakers should be mindful of the substantive differences between tariff suspensions – reducing a costly tax – and earmarks – directed spending on the part of the Member of Congress. MTBs are widely available to manufacturers who need access to products and raw materials not available from domestic producers and the positive economic benefits expand up and down the supply chain all the way to consumers.

U.S. manufacturers are already subject to the highest corporate tax rate among industrialized countries and an extremely burdensome regulatory regime. Ensuring the manufacturers have low-cost access to the materials they need is just one important way that Congress can help improve our competitiveness and keep jobs at home.

Roll call votes on H.R. 4923 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700