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Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Petition: Oh, What a (Duty) Relief It Is

In just two months, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will begin accepting petitions requesting preferential duty treatment in the next Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) (starting October 15, 2016). After this MTB, the ITC is not scheduled to take up a similar review until October 2019. In other words, now is the time to act!

This will be the first MTB in more than four years and is a rare opportunity to request duty relief for certain imported products. Generally, importers can request duty-free or reduced duty treatment for imported products, so long as they are not domestically produced and the total revenue impact does not exceed $500,000 per year.

As detailed in our previous alert, the MTB presents an opportunity for U.S. importers to increase their competitiveness in the global marketplace. Typically, importers request duty relief for raw materials (usually chemicals) or sub-components necessary for manufacturing finished products in the United States. However, in many cases, importers have received MTB duty relief for finished goods and machinery, for example:

  • Basketballs

  • Boots and shoes

  • Camcorders

  • Ceiling fans

  • Coffeemakers

  • Decorative plates and sculptures

  • Electric can openers

  • Ink-jet textile printing machinery

  • Image projectors

  • Power weaving machines (looms)

  • Toasters

In order to receive preferential duty treatment under the MTB, an importer must carefully establish eligibility and narrowly tailor the description of the product. Drinker Biddle has extensive experience in these matters and would be pleased to assist your company with an MTB petition in order to receive the maximum duty relief benefit.

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About this Author

William Rucker, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, International Trade and Customs Specialist

William R. “Randy” Rucker assists clients with all aspects of U.S. Customs law, including the classification and valuation of merchandise, country of origin and marking determinations, quantitative import restraints, duty-preference and savings programs, understanding and receiving the benefits of free trade agreements, compliance audits, enforcement actions and other trade-related matters.

In order to assist clients with their compliance efforts and satisfy "reasonable care" requirements, Randy frequently performs reviews of companies' internal...

James Sawyer, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Chicago, Trade Law Attorney

James L. Sawyer counsels clients in all areas of U.S. import laws and regulations, including tariff classification, valuation, origin determination and marking, Free Trade Agreements, and duty preference programs. He chairs the firm’s Customs and International Trade Team and is the Regional Partner in Charge of the firm's Chicago office.

James represents clients in enforcement proceedings and investigations, Focused Assessment audits, and other verification proceedings conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He frequently assists clients craft responses to formal CBP Requests for Information and Notices of Action, which are often precursors to more aggressive CBP enforcement proceedings.