The Department of Commerce has issued a 646 page report commenting on submissions to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) seeking temporary suspension or reduction of duties for imported products. The report is required by section 3(c) of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (the Act). The Act replaced the previous procedure whereby individual members of the House of Representatives or the Senate were required to introduce a separate bill for each product. After review by various federal agencies, the bills that survived were combined into a single miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB).

The Commerce report includes: (1) a determination of whether or not domestic production of the article that is the subject of the petition exists and, if so, whether a domestic producer of the article objects to the petition (Appendix A); and (2) any technical changes to the article description that are necessary for purposes of administration upon importation for those articles described in petitions for duty suspensions and reductions pending before the USITC under section 3(b)(3)(A)(i) of the Act as of April 10, 2017 (Appendix B). The report does not include information related to any subsequently modified article descriptions, including any modifications that may be recommended by the USITC in its forthcoming preliminary report. The report also includes information on possible overlap between petitions and U.S. antidumping duty and countervailing duty orders (Appendix C).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) compiled information for Commerce on CBP’s ability to administer the temporary duty suspensions or duty reductions, as published by the USITC and listed as pending as of April 10, 2017. Specifically, for each petition pending before the USITC, CBP has prepared comments concerning “any technical changes to the article description that are necessary for purposes of administration when articles are presented for importation.”

For CBP to administer a temporary duty-suspension or duty-reduction provision when articles are presented for importation, a petition must contain: (1) an article description that enables CBP personnel to accurately identify the article covered by the proposed duty suspension or duty reduction provision; and (2) the correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) 8-digit tariff classification subheading of the intended article. Accordingly, CBP reviewed the petitions and prepared comments concerning whether each petition contains an administrable article description and 8-digit HTSUS tariff classification subheading. CBP utilized the commodity expertise of its National Import Specialists (National Commodity Specialist Division, Rulings and Regulations Directorate, Office of Trade) to determine whether the proposed duty suspension or duty reduction provision could be administered upon importation, and if not, whether technical changes to the article description could be made that would allow for the administration of the petition. In conducting this analysis, CBP considered only the information submitted by petitioners pursuant to section 3(b)(2) of the Act. CBP’s views appear in Appendix B to the Commerce report.