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.