November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

November 18, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Tariff Relief: Companies May Seek Reduction Or Suspension Of Duties On Imports, But Must Act Soon

The miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB) process may offer some potential relief to companies suffering from tariff fatigue. Such entities have until close of business Dec. 10, 2019 to submit a petition for the inclusion of their imported products in upcoming legislation – or MTB – that would temporarily suspend or reduce duties on those imports.

Under the MTB process, any member of the public that is a “likely beneficiary” (i.e., an individual or entity likely to utilize, or benefit directly from the utilization of, an article that is the subject of a petition for a duty suspension or reduction) may submit a petition. The process – established by the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 – is primarily administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Historically, the tariff reductions or suspensions have only applied to the general rate of duty, and not any special duties such as Section 301 duties or antidumping and countervailing duties.

The 60-day window to submit petitions opened on Oct. 11, 2019. Once the December deadline passes, the ITC will compile petitions and issue a notice soliciting comments no later than Jan. 11, 2020. 

The Commerce Department is then tasked with determining whether domestic production exists for any product subject to a petition, as well as whether a domestic producer objects to the petition for duty suspension or reduction. After consultations with the Commerce Department, the ITC will then recommend to Congress a list of imported items that are suitable for inclusion in a legislative package that temporarily eliminates or reduces tariffs.

© 2019 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

David M. Spooner, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate and Finance Law Attorney
Partner

David M. Spooner is a partner in the Corporate Department and Co-Chair of the International Trade Practice Group. Mr. Spooner represents governments, trade associations, and corporate clients on international trade matters, including trade remedies, trade policy and customs issues. He uses his past experience as a high-level political appointee in the Executive Branch and on Capitol Hill to assist clients with their advocacy efforts before both branches of government, as well as before foreign governments.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr...

202-371-6377
Linda M. Weinberg International trade lawyer Barnes Thornburg
Partner

Linda Weinberg provides practical advice to business and institutional clients on international trade law, including export controls, foreign assets control and customs. She works regularly with the U.S. and foreign government agencies that regulate international trade to help clients realize their distinct objectives surrounding their global commerce initiatives.

Co-chair of the firm’s International Trade practice group, Linda advises and represents clients on commodity jurisdiction, export classification, licensing, technical assistance agreements, and enforcement related to defense articles and dual-use items, encryption software and technical data and services. Her experience extends to a range of industries, including aerospace, satellite, nuclear, electronics, defense, security and software, among others. She has represented clients in export control matters elevated to the inter-agency Operating Committee and the Advisory Committee on Export Policy.

Linda is a member of the core team assisting the Special Compliance Coordinator appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to monitor, assess and report on the U.S. export control compliance of Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China, and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (collectively, ZTE).

In addition, Linda provides clients with counseling, licensing services and enforcement representation with respect to U.S. economic sanctions, related USA PATRIOT Act issues, anti-boycott regulation and CFIUS. Notably, she assists research and development companies and universities in complying with U.S. export control laws, particularly with respect to technology transfers to foreign national researchers and students.

202-408-6902
Christine J. Sohar Henter, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Washington DC, Corporate Law Attorney
Partner

Christine started her legal career in public service. She was a senior attorney with the Office of the Chief Counsel for Import Administration (now the Office of Enforcement & Compliance) at the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). There, she advised U.S. government officials on compliance with U.S. trade laws and represented the U.S. in judicial appeals domestically before courts and internationally before the World Trade Organization (WTO) and North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panels. Christine was also the lead attorney for Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel, drafting...

202-408-6915
Nicholas A. Galbraith Corporate lawyer Barnes Thornburg
Associate

Nicholas A. Galbraith is an associate in Barnes & Thornburg's Washington, D.C., office and is a member of the Corporate Department and International Trade Practice Group.

Nicholas advises domestic and international clients on a wide range of complex trade matters. His experience in export controls and economic sanctions includes drafting and revising compliance policies and procedures to meet the demands of an ever-shifting regulatory environment; assisting clients with export classifications; obtaining licenses from regulatory authorities and pursuing...

202-371-6379