American manufacturing is one step from being a little bit better off now that the Senate has unanimously passed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act. The House previously passed the bill late in April, so now it’s President Obama’s turn to sign it into law.
The bill is expected to change the way Congress considers Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) legislation, which really means that Congress will be able to reduce or suspend tariffs on imported products not made in the U.S. to help American manufacturers be more competitive in the global marketplace.
“This bill creates a transparent and easy to understand process that will enable U.S. apparel, footwear and textile companies to reduce tariff costs on inputs and other articles no longer available in the United States,” American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO, Rick Helfenbein, explained. “The resulting savings will create American jobs, spur innovation, and benefit U.S. families.”
Under the bill, goods American manufacturers can’t get their hands on at all or can’t get enough of wouldn’t face the same duties that have cost companies an annual $748 million since the last MTB expired in 2012. Those taxes translate to a roughly $1.8 billion loss to the U.S. economy.
The bill will have a new three-step MTB process, whereby American companies would petition the International Trade Commission (ITC) to reduce or eliminate a tariff, the ITC will analyze it, pass it along to Congress for input and recommendations, and then the House Ways and Means Committee will weight the ITC’s input and draft an MTB proposal that goes back to Congress for a final decision.
“This is a big win for U.S. manufacturing,” National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) President and CEO Augustine Tantillo said. “The MTB is essential to American competitiveness because U.S. textile manufacturers reinvest the duty savings to boost jobs and innovation.”
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.