The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 created a new process for companies to petition for temporary elimination and reduction of import duties through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). Under the new system, companies no longer ask Members of Congress to introduce the suspension or reduction. Rather, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will be responsible for analyzing companies’ requests and recommending certain products for Congressional consideration.

In order for a product to be eligible under the MTB process, the petition will have to comply with certain requirements: (1) no opposition from a domestic producer, (2) easily administrable scope (items covered), and (3) availability of the suspension or reduction to all importers. In addition, the estimated loss in revenue from the suspension or reduction must not exceed US$500,000 per year.

The ITC will publish a Federal Register notice beginning the process no later than October 15, 2016. That will start the 60-day period for interested companies to submit their petitions.

The submitted petitions will be published by the ITC and comments will then be accepted for the next 45 days. The ITC will issue a preliminary report up to 150 days after the initial publication of the petitions and a final report to Congress within the next 60 days, recommending or not the requested duty suspension or reduction. Congress must then vote to approve the ITC’s recommendation.

Felipe de Andrade Krausz