With the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Act of 2018 now signed into law, import tariffs of nearly $1 million per day will be eliminated through 2020, including an array of apparel and textile products, according to an analysis by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
This will result in total savings of nearly $800 million and an increase of U.S. manufacturing output by $2.3 billion, NAM said. The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) noted that this will reduce or eliminate duties on U.S. imports of important components for domestic manufacturing and specific finished products that are not manufactured in the U.S.
AAFA had noted in a letter to Congress supporting the legislation that the MTB “would bolster businesses of all sizes across the United States, supporting jobs and growth in industries ranging from chemicals, agriculture, textiles and footwear to electrical equipment, machinery and sporting equipment.”
The last MTB passed by Congress expired on Dec. 31, 2012. Since then, “businesses have paid billions of dollars of tariffs on products not even made in the United States, to the detriment of good-paying American jobs and American competitiveness,” AAFA wrote.
“This is a welcome move by President Trump that will have a positive impact on American businesses, American workers and American consumers,” Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the AAFA, said of the signing of the legislation. “AAFA has long supported the MTB, as it provides American businesses with essential tax savings on certain imports, when those products and inputs are not domestically available. With the apparel and footwear industry representing 6 percent of all imports to the U.S. but currently paying 51 percent of the duties collected by the U.S. government, this relief is much needed. These savings will ultimately be used to invest in America’s workforce, product innovation, and reduce prices for American consumers.”
Taking an opposite tack, Trump has imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese imports and ones from other countries. He said the tariffs are needed because China and other countries take advantage of the U.S. through unfair trade practices.
A summary of the bill noted that a list of eligible products in this legislation was put together through a “transparent, objective, predictable and regularized process spearheaded by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).” During the process, more than 2,500 petitions to eliminate or reduce import taxes were reviewed by the USITC, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other agencies to determine if there were objections from domestic manufacturers. More than 800 petitions were excluded, including for reasons of domestic availability, from a final package of eligible products sent by the USITC to Congress.