Miscellaneous trade and tariff bills (MTBs) reduce or suspend duties on a wide range of imported products. Members of Congress introduce these bills based on requests received from constituent companies. The goal of a MTB is to lower costs by reducing the tariff obligations on products or parts that are imported. MTBs can result in as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings to individual companies. The lower costs from tariff savings can help to increase a company’s competitiveness.
At the beginning of the MTB submission process, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees will issue an advisory providing guidance to Members and constituents on how to submit a request for a duty reduction or suspension, and generally what types of requests will be considered “non-controversial.” In that regard, there are two major guidelines for consideration: 1) the tariff revenue loss for an individual MTB does not exceed $500,000, and 2) there is no domestic production of a competing product. The Committees can weigh other factors on a case-by-case basis, as can the Administration during its review. The Committees usually report out a large number of "non-controversial" miscellaneous tariff bills as part of an omnibus package once or twice each congressional session.
After collecting and reviewing bills, the Committee will issue another advisory requesting public comment on the bills it is considering for inclusion into an omnibus MTB package. In addition, the Committee will request a review and analysis of each bill from the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Administration (including a review by the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security --Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Trade Representative, and other agencies.)
ITA analysts conduct analysis on the impact of each proposed bill on the competitiveness of firms within that industry. MAS’s Office of Trade Policy Analysis coordinates and reviews the analysis, along with the Department’s Office of Assistant General Counsel and the ITA’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. Commerce’s recommendation on each MTB under consideration by Congress is then sent to OMB for inter-agency review. After the review, the resulting Administration views on each MTB are transmitted to Congress by the General Counsel for the Department of Commerce.
Links direct to the Department of Commerce’s Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations.
December 11, 2009
Transmittal Letter from Cameron F. Kerry, General Counsel to House Ways and Means Committee
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Chart
February 22, 2006
Transmittal Letter from John J. Sullivan, General Counsel to House Ways and Means Committee
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Chart (in Excel)