The US apparel and footwear industry has welcomed the passage of the US Senate’s version of the long-awaited Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018 in the House of Representatives.

The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) will collectively save more than US$1bn in import tariffs over the next three years and help boost US manufacturing output by more than US$3.1bn. The bill was passed by Congress early last month and will now go to the President.

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) president and CEO Rick Helfenbein congratulated the bill’s sponsors and encouraged President Donald Trump to sign the bill into law to support the American workforce.

“This is a major victory for American businesses, American consumers and, ultimately, American workers,” said Helfenbein. “By signing the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill into law, the President would immediately provide relief to American businesses shackled with an unavoidable tax bill, due to the unavailability of domestic supply. This would enable businesses to hire more American workers, invest in innovation, and lower costs for American consumers. Congratulations to Chairman Kevin Brady, Ranking Member Richard Neal, and the many bipartisan supporters of this bill.”

The bill comes as President Donald Trump’s trade policies raise concerns that steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports will unsettle the economy months before a mid-term election. 

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said recently that the bill is a “significant step forward” for manufacturers, who, along with other businesses, are losing nearly $1 million every day until the bill becomes law.

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“Right now, manufacturers are hit with costly, senseless taxes any time they buy products or supplies that aren’t available in the United States. It makes no sense because it is a direct and punishing tax on making things in America and for creating jobs in America. This bill ends that unfairness and helps manufacturers in the United States better compete for business with companies in China, Europe and elsewhere,” he said.