NTU Urges All Members of Congress to Support the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

NTU urges all Members of Congress to vote “Yes” on the Conference Report to H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. While imperfect, the Conference Report is a step in the right direction for taxpayers – most notably by establishing a permanent ban on Internet access taxes.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act Conference Report would make a number of sensible policy changes to modernize our customs processes. Specifically, the bill would reduce paperwork requirements for certain shipments and goods returned to the United States and streamline the Custom and Border Patrol’s automated system.

While these are prudent changes, regrettably the Conference Report places too much emphasis on misguided attempts at trade enforcement, including antidumping provisions. Simply put, foreign exporters ought to be free to charge whatever price for their goods and services that they see fit. Antidumping laws and regulations are nothing more than veiled protectionism of politically favored industries.

Despite this, the conferees wisely rejected the Senate’s stringent provisions that would have required the Department of Commerce to treat currency manipulation as an export subsidy. These ill-conceived measures would have triggered a trade war and increased the costs of goods for U.S. consumers.

Though NTU would have preferred the Conference Report to include a clear path for advancing Miscellaneous Tariffs Bills (MTBs), we are pleased that Congress has indicated a commitment to creating such a path in the future, in compliance with House and Senate rules regarding earmarks. MTBs are an important and effective tool to strengthen American manufacturing.

Of particular importance, the Conference Report includes the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act. Since 1998, Congress has barred state and local governments from imposing new or discriminatory taxes on Internet access. This decision has helped create and sustain a flourishing and dynamic environment that has brought advanced communications to millions of Americans. The Conference Report would make permanent the ban on state and local governments imposing taxes on Internet access, which will be enormously positive for American taxpayers and the continued vibrancy of the Internet.

Despite certain ill-advised policies, the Trade and Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 contains a number of extremely positive provisions that will benefit taxpayers and spur innovation.

Roll call votes on H.R. 644 will be weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “Yes” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer proposition.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Policy and Government Affairs Manager Clark Packard at (703) 683-5700