Miscellaneous Tariff Bill
Pursuant to its mandate under Section 3(c) of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (AMCA), the Department of Commerce published its 2020 report dated April 9, 2020. In accordance with the statute, the report was provided to the USITC, as well as to the appropriate Congressional committees.
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Overview
The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) is a law that temporarily reduces or suspends the import tariffs paid on particular products imported into the United States. Typically, companies importing the products request the duty reductions or suspensions by submitting a petition for each concerned product.
The AMCA, which became law on May 20, 2016, created the current process for determining which products will be included in an MTB.
Under the AMCA, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) undertakes the following tasks: collecting petitions requesting reduced or suspended tariffs on particular products; receiving public comments on those petitions; assessing all information obtained pursuant to the procedures set forth in the statute; and providing a final report to Congress on the petitions eligible for inclusion in an MTB. The USITC obtains input from other Federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce, in making its determination for each petition.
The USITC has a designated page for the MTB process that includes both detailed and overview information on the MTB process and instructions on how to submit petitions and public comments. The website also contains access to the MTB Petition System (MTBPS) through which users can submit and view product petitions.
Under the AMCA, Commerce consults with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other relevant Federal agencies in order to provide a report to the USITC, as well as the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, including the following determinations for each article that is the subject of a petition:
1. Does domestic production of the product subject to petition for duty suspension or reduction exist?
2. Does a domestic producer of the product object to the petition for the duty suspension or reduction?
3. Any technical changes to the article description that are necessary for purposes of administration when the product is imported.
The terms “domestic production” and “domestic producer” are defined by the statute, as follows:
- “Domestic producer” is a person that demonstrates production, or imminent production, in the United States of a product that is identical to, or like or directly competitive with, a product to which a petition for a duty suspension or reduction would apply. (19 U.S.C. 1332 note, at Section 7(4))
- “Domestic production” is the production of a product that is identical to, or like or directly competitive with, a product to which a petition for a duty suspension or reduction would apply, for which a domestic producer has demonstrated production, or imminent production, in the United States. (19 U.S.C. 1332 note, at Section 7(5))
Any objection to a petition should be provided in writing and from the domestic producer itself, not an industry association. To support a finding of domestic production, Commerce requests that domestic producers provide evidence that:
- The product is identical, like, or competing with a product subject to an MTB petition;
- The product is currently produced or will be produced during the time period for which the MTB is expected to be in effect;
- The product is commercially available and not produced strictly for governmental use or use by the domestically producing company; and
- The product is produced within the U.S. customs territory.
Commerce considers various factors in determining whether a product is like, identical, or competing with a product subject to a petition. Such factors may include, but are not limited to:
- Its price point relative to subject products;
- The markets in which the products compete; and
- Comparison of features and/or technical specifications.
Information collected by Commerce that is considered confidential business information by domestic producers will be kept confidential and will only be shared with the USITC if affirmative consent is provided by the domestic producer. Commerce encourages the submission of any objections through the USITC public comment process, described below.
The Department of Commerce Report includes input from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding any technical changes to a product’s article description that are necessary for purposes of administration when products are presented for importation.
The USITC is responsible for the collection and publishing of product petitions, as well as public comments on those petitions. For more detailed information regarding the USITC process and role, please refer to the USITC website.
Objections and Public Comments
On January 10, 2020, the USITC published a [PDF] Federal Register notice inviting the public to comment on the product petitions it received during the 2019 submission period and published on its website. The public comment period extended for 45 days, ending on February 24, 2020. For additional USITC timing information, please refer to the USITC MTBPS.
U.S. producers could also note an objection directly with the Department of Commerce by contacting the Department of Commerce at CommerceMTBs@trade.gov. For the purposes of Commerce’s report, all claims of domestic production were verified. Commerce considered information provided directly in formulating the required Commerce Department report described above. Any additional comments should be directed to the USITC.
Timing for 2019-2020 MTB Review Cycle
The 2019-2020 MTB review cycle runs from October 2019 through the end of 2020. The process began on October 11, 2019.
- October 11 – December 10, 2019: USITC MTB portal open for petition submission.
- December 10, 2019 – January 10, 2020: USITC compiles petitions.
- January 10, 2020 – USITC issues Federal Register notice soliciting comments on product petitions.
- January 10 - February 24, 2020: USITC accepts public comments through online portal.
- January 10 - April 9, 2020: Commerce conducts its review of petitions, at the end of which it submits its report to the congressional committees and the USITC.
- January 10 - Mid-June, 2020 (150 days): USITC conducts its review of petitions, at end of which it submits its Preliminary Report to the congressional committees, taking into consideration the Commerce Report.
- Mid-June – mid-August, 2020 (60 days): USITC conducts re-review of individual petitions, based on information submitted by the congressional committees, at the end of which it submits its Final Report to the congressional committees.
No further MTB review cycles have been legislated by the Congress at this time.
How to Contact the Department of Commerce
If you would like to contact the Department of Commerce regarding the MTB process, staff can be reached at the email address CommerceMTBs@trade.gov.
If you have a question or comment about a specific petition, please include the petition number.