In a move to boost American manufacturing, the United States House Ways and Means Committee introduced the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 Wednesday.
The bipartisan bill is supposed to provide an open and transparent process for the House to consider manufacturing tax cuts through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).
“This bipartisan bill will empower American manufacturers to compete around the world, create new jobs at home, and grow our economy,” Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “We’ve also made sure that the new process strictly upholds our earmark ban and that the American people are involved in every step along the way. I appreciate my colleagues’ support and leadership during this process and look forward to moving this bill through our committee very soon.”
Verbiage in the bill says imposing duties on imported goods that aren’t available or are only available in limited quantities in the U.S. creates artificial distortions in the economy and negatively impacts American manufacturers and consumers.
Since the last MTB expired in 2012, American companies have been saddled with a $748 million annual tax hike on manufacturing, which has meant a $1.8 billion loss to the U.S. economy, Ways and Means trade subcommittee chairman, Dave Reichert (R-Washington), explained.
Apparel and footwear manufacturers suffered, too, facing higher costs which weighed on job creation.
“The legislation introduced today will provide greater transparency in the MTB process while moving forward on tariff reduction that is critical to our industry,” Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) President Matt Priest said.
The new bill would suspend or reduce duties on goods that are scarce or nonexistent domestically.
And with U.S. manufacturing competitiveness on the rise and slated to take the top spot from China by 2020, according to Deloitte, the bill could be well timed to improve conditions for American producers.
Under the bill’s new three-step MTB process, U.S. companies would make petitions to the International Trade Commission (ITC) and an independent panel would take comments from the public and the administration to conduct its analysis.
Then the ITC would give Congress a public report with its analysis and recommendations for whether the tariff should be eliminated or reduced.
The Ways and Means Committee would then weigh the ITC’s input, draft an MTB proposal and then Congress make a final decision based on existing rules.
MTBs have historically had support from both sides of the aisle, so the bill is expected to be taken up.
“I expect this bill to receive the bipartisan support that the MTB has always had, and for good reason—the MTB provides much-needed assistance to our domestic manufacturers,” Charles B. Rangel (D-New York), trade subcommittee ranking member, said.