April 30, 2018

On April 17, Senate Republican and Democratic leadership ‘hotlined’ an amended version of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Act of 2018, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 4318) 402-0 on January 16. By hotlining the legislation, the Senate can approve the bill under unanimous consent if there are no objections. Also, since the bill was amended, the legislation must go back to the House of Representatives for approval. There is no indication of timing yet. 
SOCMA encourages members to contact all Senate offices to urge support for the MTB.

The MTB Act of 2018 amends the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) to:

-Repeal expired reductions in rates of duty for specified chemicals and other items; and-Provide for duty suspensions and reductions through December 31, 2020, for specified chemicals and other items. 

Since the MTB is only applicable to materials not manufactured domestically, or available in sufficient quantities, passage will not have a negative effect on domestic manufacturers.

The MTB is one step toward leveling the playing field. Domestic specialty chemical manufacturers by necessity must import some of the chemicals needed to support production. Prior to the expiration of the previous MTB at the end of 2012, SOCMA members have historically filed requests for inputs to be included in the MTB. Non-petitioners are encouraged to review the list of petitioned products to determine opportunities for tariff relief. The elimination of these duties has a large impact on the ability of members to spend the dollars to develop, register and sell products. If passed and signed by President Trump, money that has historically gone to duties can be put towards growth and job creation. 

Once the bill becomes law, the temporary duty reductions or suspensions will be included in an amendment of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) – Chapter 99, subchapter II – for a period not to exceed three years. The process will begin again no later than October 15, 2019. The 2017 petitions list, as well as tools and guidelines to assist on MTB filing, can be found on the USITC website

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