We are writing to let you know that there is renewed hope that Congress will restart the tariff suspension bill process. As many of you know well, the tariff suspension bill process, which used to be a mainstay, has languished for the past several years after being caught up in the debate over “earmarks”.
Bipartisan legislation was recently introduced to change the tariff suspension process. The bill, introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D- Mo.), would enable U.S. companies to directly petition the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for duty suspension measures. Upon approval by the ITC, the tariff suspension measure would then be sent to Congress for final approval. Traditionally, companies have had to find a member of Congress to sponsor the proposed duty suspension measure as a stand-alone bill, in addition to it being vetted by the ITC. The proposed legislation, if passed, would streamline the process for U.S. companies and potentially help to alleviate the concern surrounding the introduction of Congressional “earmarks”.
While this is a hopeful sign, similar bills were proposed in 2012 and 2013 and did not make it out of the Senate Finance Committee. With the new Congress, hope springs eternal.
Tariff suspension bills can provide significant benefit to companies that import dutiable items that cannot be sourced here in the United States, and is something most companies should consider. If you would like to discuss the possibility of seeking tariff suspension on a given article, or the process more generally, please let us know.