WASHINGTON, April 29, 2015 – A pair of bills that will be moving through Congress along with the fast-track legislation include provisions intended to help U.S. farmers and seafood producers in a series of trade disputes.
The Senate version of a bill to extend the duty-free treatment for imports from developing countries includes an amendment intended to help the U.S. chicken industry win a dispute with South Africa over its antidumping duties on American poultry. The amendment by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., would require the Obama administration to review South Africa’s response to the dispute within 30 days of the bill’s enactment.
The House bill (HR 1891) would authorize the administration to yank a country’s duty-free status but doesn’t include the review requirement. The U.S. chicken industry favors the Senate version and will be looking for negotiators to preserve the provision in conference committee.
Honey producers won provisions in the Senate version of a separate Customs enforcement bill that are intended to help the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) stop Chinese honey from being shipped through third countries to avoid antidumping duties. A provision that Thune added to the Senate bill also would require Customs to distribute interest on the duties to affected honey producers. CBP has not been turning over the interest payments.
Shrimp and crawfish producers also won provisions in the House bill, thanks to the work of Charles Boustany, R-La. The bill would create a “Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Division” within Customs for preventing the evasion of antidumping and countervailing duty orders.
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