Nov 11, 2010

OIA Asks U.S. Trade Representative to Reconsider Position on Rejected MTBs

In a letter to Ambassador Ron Kirk, Outdoor Industry Association and a coalition of business and trade associations expressed deep concern at the U.S. Trade Representative’s opposition to several footwear and apparel miscellaneous tariff bills on the basis that their enactment would undermine trade negotiations.

The MTB is a transparent process that undergoes careful scrutiny by the International Trade Commission and administration to ensure the included bills do not harm U.S. manufacturers and to make certain the temporary, two or three year duty suspensions have a revenue impact of less than $500,000.

By requiring that tariff suspensions be very limited in their duration and in their revenue impact, the MTB process was developed so that the suspensions would not have any measurable impact on trade negotiations or preference programs.

“We all share USTR’s goals of negotiating strong, market-opening trade agreements and administering fully the U.S. trade preference programs,” the letter states, “but we simply do not see any basis through which the MTB process could seriously undermine those objectives.”

The MTB, expected to be introduced during the lame duck session, would be the second tariff suspension bill considered this year, following the July passage of the U.S. Manufacturing and Enhancement Act (H.R. 4380). That MTB was enacted by President Obama in a White House East Room signing ceremony during which he commented that the MTB “will create jobs, help American companies compete, and strengthen manufacturing as a key driver of our economic recovery.” That MTB did not attract opposition from USTR.