WASHINGTONOrganizations such as the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) are praising the Senate's passage of a bill that would strengthen protections to domestic industries against dumping and intellectual property theftincluding of automotive technology, parts and systemsby importers.
The Senate approved the conference report on H.R. 644the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015by a 75-20 vote Feb. 11. The bill was signed into law Feb. 24 by President Barack Obama.
Among other things, H.R. 644:
c Directs U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure that its partnership programs provide trade benefits to importers, exporters and other private sector entities that meet program requirements;
c Directs CBP to establish priorities and performance standards to measure levels of achievement in customs modernization, the movement of merchandise into and out of the U.S. (trade facilitation), and trade enforcement functions and programs;
c Directs CBP to inform all U.S. trademark and copyright owners of all suspected trademark and copyright infringements from merchandise imported into the U.S.;
c Amends existing antidumping and countervailing duty laws to strengthen enforcement; and
c Gives the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative additional authority to enforce trade laws and protect intellectual property rights.
A synopsis of the bill is at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1907
The bill helps level the playing field for American workers and manufacturers, according to AAM Press Secretary Jet Moody.
Countless U.S. jobs have been lost because of predatory trade practices like foreign dumping, subsidies and other unfair practices, Ms. Moody said.
This bill gives U.S. companies and American workers the tools to fight back, making it easier to address trade cheating with reforms to the processes of handling allegations of trade law evasion.
The AAM's only disappointment with the bill, she said, is that it does not address the issue of currency manipulation by China and other countries.
The day before the Senate vote, the NRF wrote Senate leadership in support of H.R. 644.
The bill provides important provisions that will help CBP continue to balance trade facilitation with trade enforcement, both of which are priority issues for the nation's retailers, wrote David French, NRF senior vice president, government relations.
Modernizing CBP operations is essential in the ever-increasing global economy, Mr. French wrote.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., noted that H.R. 644 passed with his provision to ban Internet access taxes.
The passage of the bill is a victory for the Internet, entrepreneurs and consumers, he said. Keeping the Internet tax-free is key to our efforts to connect more Americans to the Internet, especially in rural areas, and to advance to the next generation of connectivity.
To reach this reporter: [email protected] crain.com