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SGMA Opposes USTR Position on Second Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

SGMA and 11 other associations have criticized a position taken by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with respect to some of the duty suspension provisions being considered for inclusion in a second miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB).  As reported, the 111th Congress passed its first MTB in July, which contained SGMA-backed duty suspensions on several categories of sports balls and certain golf equipment.  The second MTB, which is targeted for consideration during the upcoming lame duck session scheduled to begin on November 15, was expected to include a range of other duty suspension provisions including several on footwear categories of potential interest to SGMA members.

USTR raised objections to the duty suspension provisions on the footwear categories, saying that suspending U.S. duties on these products would undermine U.S. negotiating leverage in ongoing trade negotiations.  In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk dated November 5, SGMA and the other associations argued that USTR’s concern was unfounded since duty suspensions are very limited in their duration, providing no assurance to a foreign trading partner that they will continue into the future, and they are extremely limited in their revenue impact.  The letter noted that MTBs “have been accepted on that basis by every Democratic and Republican Administration over the past decades.”

This second MTB, which is currently undergoing final drafting by House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committee staff, is the vehicle for duty suspension provisions other than those that were extensions of existing provisions or those that were covered by bills introduced in the House during the last Congress.  The plan is for this second MTB to be taken up by Congress as a freestanding bill under expedited procedures, or for it to be packaged with certain trade provisions facing December 31 expiration dates (namely, trade adjustment assistance and extensions of the GSP and Andean trade preference programs). 

POSTED - November 9, 2010

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