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Obama Signs Miscellaneous Tariffs Bill

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

13 August 2010

United States President Barack Obama has signed into law the Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010, commonly referred to as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which contains hundreds of import tariff suspensions and reductions which should stimulate increased industrial production and create jobs in the American economy.

Passed with bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on July 21 and July 27, respectively, the MTB amends the US harmonized import tariff schedule to provide for various duty suspensions and reductions until December 31, 2012, for chemicals and other products that are essential for US manufacturers, but are not made or otherwise available in the US.

As the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has said: “The MTB is one of the most important short-term actions Congress can take to preserve and expand good American jobs, cut the costs of doing business in the US and boost American manufacturing exports. US manufacturers large and small will use the MTB’s tariff suspension provisions to obtain raw materials, proprietary inputs and other products that are not available in our nation. “

Tariffs included in the MTB have undergone an extremely thorough vetting process to ensure the benefits do not come at the expense of domestic manufacturers. During the process, the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee, the Administration, and the US International Trade Commission thoroughly reviewed each tariff relief request to ensure that there is no domestic opposition.

President Obama, while signing the legislation, commented that the MTB “will significantly lower costs for American companies across the manufacturing landscape - from cars to chemicals; medical devices to sporting goods. And that will boost output, support good jobs here at home, and lower prices for American consumers.”

The Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Sander M. Levin, stated that “the legislation that President Obama signed is a significant step toward supporting American manufacturing and American jobs”, while Chuck Grassley, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, pointed to NAM studies showing the MTB “will increase US production by USD4.6bn and support 90,000 jobs”.

However, Grassley also said that, while the MTB is a “good start”, the US should “build on that by moving to implement our pending trade agreements without delay”. He was referring to the three free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that have yet to be approved by Congress.

TAGS: tax | law | tariffs | manufacturing | legislation | United States | import duty | trade

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