The House Ways and Means Committee marked up a bill (H.R. 4923) last Wednesday that would reform the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process. The full House will consider the measure this Wednesday under suspension of the rules, which is reserved for non-controversial bills. The House will also consider the Senate-passed version of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (S. 1890) on Wednesday after the House Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced the measure last week.
TTIP Developments – 13th Round of Negotiations Commences. U.S. and EU negotiators will meet this week in New York City for the latest round of TTIP negotiations, where they will attempt to consolidate some proposed texts. While neither side has submitted language on regulatory cooperation yet, reports indicate negotiators may focus on formulating a structure for the text across nine regulatory categories: autos, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, chemicals, textiles, information communication technology products, pesticides, and engineering.
The anti-trade sentiment in the U.S. presidential campaigns is affecting not only the completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal but also the ongoing TTIP negotiations, with many speculating the Obama Administration will be unable to conclude a TTIP deal before the end of this year and the end of President Obama’s presidency.
MTB Developments – House Acts on the Reform Bill. The House Ways & Means Committee held a mark-up of its MTB reform bill on Wednesday, quickly approving the measure (with technical amendment) and advancing it to the full House for consideration this Wednesday. The National Association of Manufacturers led over 200 business groups and companies in urging Congress to swiftly act on the MTB reform measure.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) spoke highly of the House Ways & Means Committee action on the MTB reform bill at a weekly press briefing, saying:
“We are creating an open and rigorous process for the way we provide tax relief for American manufacturers. This is something that we’ve been trying to get done for years. This MTB issue is something that I personally have been involved in, and I’m very excited that we have a solution now that we are moving. It is a jobs bill. It is a transparency bill. And it upholds our earmark ban, first and foremost, which is very important.”