Key committees in Congress have announced that they will consider requests from Members to temporarily reduce or suspend tariffs on certain imported products as part of a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (“MTB”) that is expected to be considered by Congress later this year.

Congress regularly takes up and passes MTBs as an effort to boost the competitiveness of domestic manufacturers by lowering the cost of imported inputs. As part of that process, it first considers requests from Members seeking to assist companies located in their districts.

Any manufacturing client that relies on imports as part of its manufacturing process can work with Congress to see that a certain product or chemical is included in the latest MTB.

The process involves drafting legislation and a review by the International Trade Commission, Department of Commerce; and Customs and Border Protection. It also involves the opportunity for public comment.

Criteria listed by the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees indicates that a tariff modification (such as a duty suspension or reduction) must:

  • Be non-controversial
  • Cost less than $500,000 per year
  • Be administrable

Additional restrictions exist, such as the requirement in the House of Representatives that tariff bills must not be of limited use, i.e., benefiting 10 or fewer manufacturers.

The first key deadline is quickly approaching. Members of the Senate and House of Representatives must draft standalone legislation seeking the tariff reduction, and must do so by this Monday, April 30.