Bill provides mechanism to waive import tariffs on materials not available from domestic suppliers

A long-delayed tariff relief bill that will cut expensive border taxes on materials imported into the US was signed into law by president Obama on 20 May. The new law creates a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process to waive taxes on certain products that aren’t produced in the US.

Under the new law, the International Trade Commission – an independent, quasijudicial federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on trade matters – will be required to review domestic availability, and then recommend to Congress certain products that meet the MTB tests. The new process is expected to be in place by October 2016, when the ITC will begin accepting petitions from those who believe they qualify to be beneficiaries of duty suspensions or reductions.

Bill Allmond from the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates’ (SOCMA) called the law a ‘landmark victory’. He said it will end years of ‘unnecessary tax increases on US speciality chemical manufacturers, many of whom are already paying higher prices for raw materials’.

The last MTB passed by Congress expired in December 2012, and since then companies have faced an annual $748 million tax hike on manufacturing in the US, according to plastics industry trade group SPI. The group noted that many nations have either done away with these kinds of tariffs or have MTB-type processes already in place.