On June 9, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission) submitted its preliminary report on petitions for duty suspensions and reductions, under the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (AMCA), to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance.

As discussed in previous posts here and here, the AMCA reformed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process, passing the authority for receiving and vetting duty reduction proposals from members of Congress to the Commission. Following a comment period earlier this year for petitions filed in late 2016, the Commission has now submitted a preliminary report that advised Congress whether the petitions received (and not later withdrawn) meet the requirements of the AMCA and should be included in the final MTB. In its preliminary report, the Commission provided recommendations on 2,536 petitions. A wide range of products are represented in the petitions, including chemicals; machinery and equipment; textiles, apparel, and footwear; and agriculture and fisheries products.

The Commission, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce and U.S. Customs & Border Protection, analyzed the petitions for compliance with the AMCA’s requirements. Accordingly, the Commission considered whether:

  • there is any domestic production of the relevant goods;
  • any domestic producers filed objections to individual petitions;
  • the proposed duty suspension or reduction would benefit all importers of the products at issue;
  • any defects in the product description would impede the potential administration of the duty suspension or reduction; and
  • the loss in revenue to the United States would be at or below $500,000/year.

For its preliminary report, the Commission placed each petition into one of six categories to reflect whether and how the petition meets (or fails to meet) the requirements of the AMCA. The Commission grouped petitions not being recommended for inclusion in the final MTB under category VI. The petitions included in this category are those for which the product description was found inadministrable or indiscernible, a domestic producer objected, or estimated revenue loss exceeded $500,000/year.

Today, the Commission begins accepting limited additional comments on the 764 petitions assigned to category VI. According to the Commission’s notice regarding these comments, the agency “will only accept information from the public that relates to its decision to place these petitions into Category VI.” The Commission’s portal for comments will remain open for a period of 10 days, ending on June 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm. Companies interested in opposing, supporting, or providing neutral information with respect to the Commission’s decision to list a petition under category VI may be interested in filing comments at this time.

The Commission is expected to deliver its final report in August 2017.