A diverse group of more than 200 American companies and organisations is urging Congress to approve a bill before the end of the year that would temporarily reduce or suspend duties on certain raw material imports.
The groups – which include the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) – are calling for quick passage of the bipartisan Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2017 that was introduced last month.
The legislation would temporarily reduce or eliminate import duties on more than 1,700 products (both inputs and finished goods) that are not made in the United States, including dozens of footwear, apparel, travel goods and textile items.
Congress has not passed a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) since 2012, and the groups say it would collectively save them more then $1bn in import tariffs over the next three years, and boost US manufacturing output by more than $3.1bn.
The bill “plays an important role in the operations of domestic manufacturers as it corrects, on a temporary basis, historical distortions in the US tariff code by eliminating border tariffs on imported products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production and availability,” the letter says.
“Such distortions undermine the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States by imposing unnecessary costs and, in some cases, imposing a higher cost on manufacturers’ inputs than the competing foreign imported finished product.”
The companies conclude: “For nearly five years, manufacturers and other businesses have been held back by out-of-date and distortive import tariffs that are costing billions of dollars.
“We urge Congress to act now to eliminate these distortions and improve US competitiveness by moving quickly to pass the comprehensive Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2017.”