WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2015 – The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is the top priority for many, but it is isn’t the only trade bill the business community would like to see the new Congress deal with. Congress also is overdue to write a new miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB).
MTB bills typically incorporate a variety of temporary duty suspension requests from individual members of Congress, but the legislation has recently gotten sidetracked because of the congressional earmark ban. MTB is important to a variety of sectors, including the pesticide industry, which wants relief from tariffs on imported chemicals.
The failure of Congress to pass a new MTB since 2010 led to an increase in tariffs in 2013. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is trying to figure out how to move MTB legislation without violating the legislative ban. The affected tariffs are “needlessly raising prices on American consumers,” he said.
Congress this year also needs to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides duty-free treatment to imports from African countries. The expiring law is currently ensnared in a dispute between U.S. chicken producers and South Africa.
U.S. poultry groups are urging Congress to drop South Africa from AGOA unless that country lifts antidumping duties on American chicken. South African officials have been in talks with the administration about the issue.
AGOA has largely been used for oil shipments. Ryan said lawmakers need to move an AGOA bill quickly, although there’s still a concern about its cost. The law expires Sept. 30.
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