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08 November 2019
On 11 October 2019 the US International Trade Commission (ITC) began accepting petitions as part of the 2019 Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process. Under this process, a member of the public may request that Congress temporarily eliminate or reduce duty on an imported article for three years. Petitions are due no later than 10 December 2019 at 5:15pm Eastern Standard Time via the ITC online portal.
The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act 2016 (19 USC § 1332 note) establishes the authority, criteria and procedure for the public to request the temporary suspension or reduction of duties on imported articles. Although one of the purposes of the act is to reduce production costs for US manufacturers and ensure that foreign competitors are not at a competitive sourcing advantage, the duty reductions are not limited to manufacturing inputs or raw materials. Requests can be submitted for any imported articles that meet the criteria below.
Petitions must be submitted using the ITC's MTB Petition System online portal at mtbps.usitc.gov, which contains guidance for filing. The petition must propose a description that includes a specific class or kind of imported merchandise and briefly lists the discernible physical characteristics of the product at the time of importation. It must also identify the proper eight-digit classification of the product under the Harmonised Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The petitioner may apply for a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ruling to assist.
To receive the ITC's recommendation for inclusion in the MTB, a petitioner must certify or demonstrate the following:
The petition must also contain various data elements, including:
Under the MTB timeline, the ITC will post the petitions online for public comment, including objections, within 30 days of the closing of the petitioning period. The comment period will remain open for 45 days. Next, through an interagency process, the ITC will accept withdrawals, make corrections and provide its recommendations on the petitions to Congress, which will consider them for inclusion in an MTB as a Heading 9902 HTSUS provision. If the bill is enacted, the duty suspensions or reductions would be effective from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023.
The act reformed a process whereby parties would request duty savings by direct lobbying to Congress. During the 2016 MTB process, the most recent and the first under the act, the ITC considered a total of 2,524 petitions, 72% of which it recommended for inclusion. The resulting Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act 2018 was expected to provide up to $1.1 billion in duty savings on 1,660 imported articles between 13 October 2018 and 31 December 2020.
For further information on this topic please contact David R Hamill, Teresa Polino or Russell A Semmel at Arent Fox LLP by telephone (+1 202 857 6000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Arent Fox LLP website can be accessed at www.arentfox.com.
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