The US apparel and footwear industry has welcomed the formal introduction of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which will temporarily reduce or suspend duties on certain American imports.

The bipartisan, bicameral Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2017 was introduced yesterday (9 November) by the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee. It followed reviews of the US International Trade Commission (ITC)'s final report to Congress.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association has commended the move and urged quick Congressional passage of the bill.

"Bipartisan MTB reform is smart policy for American businesses, American workers, and American consumers, as it will lead to the elimination or reduction of duties on imports that are not available or manufactured in the United States," says Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the AAFA. "This will directly result in long-needed duty relief for American companies, providing capital for reinvestment in the American workforce, research & development, and reduction on prices for American families. We are happy to see Congress has moved forward with a transparent process to review specific product lines, and encourage the quick approval of the bill."

Congress overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 last year to establish an open and transparent process for consideration of the MTB. Pursuant to the Act, US businesses were able to petition for tariff relief from the ITC.

The ITC then determined whether each petition met the requirements of the Act, including the requirement there be no domestic producer of a like product who objects to the tariff reduction or suspension at issue.

In August, the ITC provided a final report to Congress that included recommendations concerning more than 2,500 petitions. It recommended that more than 1,800 of the petitions be included in MTB legislation to be considered by Congress.

"We are pleased to introduce the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2017 (MTB), a bipartisan bill to empower American manufacturers to compete effectively around the world, create new jobs at home, and grow our economy," the House Ways and Means Committee said.

"Congress designed the MTB to address the problem faced by many American manufacturers who require certain inputs that simply are not made in the United States. Requiring those manufacturers to pay tariffs for such inputs increases their manufacturing costs and makes them less competitive internationally. The MTB will temporarily suspend or reduce these burdensome tariffs."