The US House of Representatives yesterday (27 April) voted to approve legislation to reform the process for considering bills that would temporarily reduce or eliminate duties of up to $500,000 on products that are no longer made in the US.

The last Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) expired in 2012, and the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 bill (H.R. 4923) creates a new process for Congress to consider and enact the miscellaneous trade bills that make up the MTB.

The legislation is expected to provide greater transparency in the MTB process while moving forward on tariff reduction.

If enacted, the measure would direct the ITC to begin a new MTB no later than 15 October 2016, and 15 October 2019, thereby ensuring a process for the next six years.

The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that US companies have had to pay $748m in additional duties annually since the last MTB expired on 31 December 2012.

According to the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), when fully operational, "this process will be critical for US apparel, footwear and textile manufacturers and importers alike to reduce costs on inputs no longer available in the United States that are used in US manufacturing as well as to reduce the cost of finished footwear and apparel no longer made (or never made) in the US."

The House vote comes after the House Ways and Means Committee last week unanimously approved the legislation. The Senate could take up the bill as early as next week.