Congress Finally Passes a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

International Alert
08.03.10

On July 27, 2010, the U.S. Senate passed, by unanimous consent and with the support of over 130 businesses and associations, H.R. 4380, the U.S. Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010, also known as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (“MTB”). The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives on July 21, 2010 and is now awaiting President Obama’s signature to be enacted into law. Passage of the MTB had been widely supported in the U.S. business community and by major pro-business associations including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

The previous MTB (P.L. 109-280 and P.L. 109-482) expired on December 31, 2009. Until recently, the Congressional Republican leadership successfully blocked Democrats’ efforts to reauthorize the expired MTB bill -- which included products that had been vetted by the House, Senate and ITC -- by asserting that the duty suspensions were “earmarks”. In the end, pressure from the U.S. business community helped to spur over 100 House Republicans to support the reauthorization of the MTB which assured its passage in the House by a large bipartisan margin (378-43).

The MTB aims to protect and create American jobs and cut the cost of doing business in the U.S. manufacturing industry by suspending duties on imported products that are not available in the United States or where there is no domestic opposition. Specifically, the MTB eliminates the duties on a wide variety of products including, certain types of reusable grocery bags, automobile parts, digital camera lenses, fibers, yarns, chemicals, microwaves, plastic fittings, herbicides and other inputs used by U.S. manufacturers.

The MTB will become effective on the fifteenth day after its enactment and it expires on December 31, 2012. Section 3002(b) provides for retroactive application of its duty suspension provisions. As a result, an importer may request liquidation or reliquidation of any entry covered by the MTB made between January 1, 2010 and the fifteenth day after its enactment for which there would have been no duty or a reduced duty if the MTB applied at the time of entry. Importers must request such liquidation or reliquidation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection no later than 180 days after the enactment of the MTB and the U.S. must pay any amount owed to the importer without interest within 90 days of liquidation or reliquidation.

For more information on how to utilize the duty savings offered by the MTB or for information on any other import customs compliance matter, please contact:

Richard Abbey, rabbey@milchev.com, 202-626-2901

Saskia F. Zandieh, szandieh@milchev.com, 202-626-5560

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