USITC Begins Accepting Petitions
for Duty Suspension Requests for Proposed
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

October 24, 2019

You might have missed this with all of the trade activity surrounding (you name it!) Turkey, Cuba, China and the European Union, but recently, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) quietly published new rules for the Submission and Consideration of Petitions for Duty Suspension and Reductions (84 FR 44687), signaling the beginnings of a new Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) for 2019. Granted, past fervor over an MTB pales in comparison to getting your most recent section 301 duty exemption approved; this is still not a subject that importers should lightly pass over for items that are still subject to general duty rates. (Unfortunately, in its current form, MTB legislation will not preclude the application of section 232 and 301 duties.)

The House of Representatives has initial jurisdiction over legislation to amend the U.S. tariff schedule and to make corrections to trade legislation. MTBs enact the temporary reduction or suspension of duties on certain U.S. imports or other technical corrections to the U.S. Harmonized Tariff System. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 established new procedures for MTBs. Companies seeking a duty reduction or suspension will now need to submit their petition to the USITC, which compiles and reviews the petitions in accordance with the requirements of the Act. After the USITC submits a report of its review to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Committee will compile a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill to implement the duty reductions and suspensions it decides to accept.

Under the MTB process, importers may petition the USITC for duty suspensions or duty reductions for specific products that are non-controversial and not domestically produced. Previous MTB petitions have been accepted for chemicals and plastics, machinery and electronics, textiles, apparel, footwear and headwear articles, travel goods, handbags, and sporting goods. Petitions can be submitted for any product.

Following the 2016 legislative changes to the process, all MTB petitions for 2019 must be filed electronically on the USITC’s MTB webpage via its portal at https://mtbps.usitc.gov/external/. At the webpage, you can submit petitions, view petitions filed by other parties, find support, and helpful guides and documents. You can also look at 2016 information and reports. The new MTB portal opened for petitions on October 11, 2019.

What Information is Needed for a Petition?

Information for a petition for duty suspension or duty reduction for a specific product is provided on the USITCs’ MTB website and 19 CFR § 220.6, and requires information such as:

  • A brief and general description of the article and its uses, and the names of the principal countries from which it is imported.
  • A brief description of the industry in the United States that uses the article.
  • The country the product is being imported from.
  • An article description that meets the requirements of §220.6 for the proposed duty suspension or reduction.
  • The permanent classification of the article in chapters 1-97 of the HTS and the Chemical Abstracts Service registry number (if applicable).
  • To the extent available — (1) A classification ruling of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that indicates CBP's classification of the article; or (2) A copy of other CBP documentation indicating where the article is classified in the HTS.
  • Contain an estimate of:
    • the total and dutiable value (in U.S. dollars) of imports for the calendar year proceeding the year in which the petition is filed,
    • an estimate the total dutiable value for the next 5 calendar years after the calendar year the petition is filed; and
    • an estimate of total share of imports represented by petitioner’s imports;
  • Names of domestic producers, if available.
  • Certification from the petitioner that the information is complete and correct to the best of petitioner’s knowledge and belief, along with an acknowledgement of the petitioner’s awareness that the information is subject to USITC audit and verification.

The MTB process may not be used to avoid:

  • tariff-rate quota provisions;
  • altering the tariff treatment provided in subchapter III or IV of chapter 99 of the HTS; or
  • altering the classification of product in chapters 1 through 97 of the HTS.

 Submitting Petitions

After the information is gathered, importers wishing to file petitions will need to register on the USITC Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Petition System (MTBPS), and complete the questionnaire to file the petition.

It is anticipated that Congress might vote on the MTB package by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

If you think your company would like more information on the MBT process, or would benefit from submitting an MTB, please contact our office at 415-986-8780.

For further information or questions about this or other customs issues, contact George R. Tuttle, III at geo@tuttlelaw.com or at (415) 986-8780.

 

George R. Tuttle, III is an attorney with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle.

The information in this article is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence and may not be considered as such.

Copyright © 2019 by Tuttle Law Offices. 
All rights reserved. 

Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.  However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.

 

 

 

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