Congress Reforms the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Process

Congress has recently enacted the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (Public Law No. 114-159), which establishes new, more predictable procedures for obtaining duty relief through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process.  The MTB is legislation that typically contains hundreds of specific provisions to reduce or eliminate duties on products imported into the United States.  To be eligible for inclusion in the MTB, each product must satisfy the general criteria described below.

  1. Loss of Government Revenue May Not Exceed $500,000: If the product is included in the MTB, the loss of tariff revenue may not be greater than $500,000 in a calendar year.
  2. No Domestic Production of the Product: There must be no domestic production of the product. In certain cases, a domestically produced item may still be included in the MTB if no competing U.S. Company objects.
  3. Noncontroversial Product: Inclusion of the product must generally be considered noncontroversial. This typically means that no member of Congress objects to the inclusion of the product.

 

The new MTB process now begins at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The following list is a summary of the key steps in the new process:

  1. ITC Requests Petitions: On October 15, 2016, the ITC will announce the beginning of a 60-day period in which persons may file petitions for proposed duty suspensions or reductions. The petition period should expire on or about December 14, 2016.
  2. Public Comment Period: Between December 14, 2016 and January 13, 2017, the ITC will publish the submitted petitions and request public comments for a 45-day period.
  3. Preliminary Report to Congress: Approximately 180 to 240 days after the petition announcement on October 15, 2016, the ITC will send to Congress a preliminary report of all filed petitions, including a preliminary assessment of each product’s eligibility for duty suspension or reduction.
  4. Final Report to Congress: The ITC will submit a final report to Congress on each petition no later than 60 days after submitting the preliminary report.

 

After Congress reviews the final report, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee, will prepare MTB legislation based on the ITC’s recommendations.  It is important to note that Congress cannot add new products to the ITC’s list of eligible MTB products, but Congress may exclude products already on the list.  We anticipate that new MTB legislation should be introduced or enacted in the latter half of 2017.

By: Vicky Wu, Associate Attorney