The US Congress failed to pass Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) legislation last year to replace the MTB that expired on December 31, 2009. As a result, products covered by the expired MTB are subject to duties until a new bill is passed.

The US Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees will now likely adopt a two-prong approach under which the Committees will pass an initial MTB early this year, followed by a more comprehensive second MTB later in the year. The first bill, which would reflect a compromise framework agreement executed in December 2009, would extend some duty suspensions that expired on December 31, and also suspend duties on new products that have been vetted by the US International Trade Commission (ITC). Once the first bill is introduced, the Finance Committee will then focus on preparing a second MTB, which would cover additional duty suspensions not included in the first bill, “as soon as possible,” and hopefully before the end of March 2010. Progress on the second MTB depends in part on how quickly the ITC is able to vet the additional products under consideration.