CONECT TPA Vote Update

TODAY: Senate voted 97-1 to Extend GSP/AGOA/Haiti Preferences, Customs Auth Bill, TPA Legislation

Ray Bucheger

Update on TPA Vote:

The Senate voted Yes today on a cloture motion for a combined TPA/Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill. A cloture vote is a procedural vote that is required to avoid a filibuster. The vote means the Senate will proceed to debate on the TPA/TAA bill with a final vote likely happening next week

Update on Customs Bill:

Moments ago the Senate passed the Customs bill by a vote of 78-20. The Senate will vote later today to proceed to debate on the TPA bill

Update on GSP/AGOA/Haiti

Senate Voted 97-1 to exptedn GSP/AGOA/Haiti Preferences

Note that the House has to act on this legislation. But the House will not take up the preferences bill without also taking up he TPA bill, and at the moment, House leaders are up to 30 votes short on TPA.

Details of the GSP/AGOA/Haiti Bill…

Hello CONECT:

Today, the Senate is expected to pass two bills: one extending the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and a trade preference program for Haiti; and the other one being the Customs Authorization bill.

The Senate is expected to vote later today on a cloture motion for a combined TPA/Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill. A cloture vote is a procedural vote that is required to avoid a filibuster. The 60 votes needed to invoke cloture are said to be there, which means the Senate would the proceed to debate on the TPA/TAA bill with a final vote likely happening next week.

Here are the details on the GSP/AGOA/Haiti bill:

�The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program was reauthorized through December 2017. The bill extends the GSP program retroactively to July 2013.

oThe bill extends duty-free preferences under GSP to travel goods (luggage, purses, backpacks, laptop bags, wallets).

�The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which expires later this year, was extended through September 2025.

oThe legislation includes a provision to allow the African nations to import fabric from other countries, such as Vietnam or China, and still qualify for duty-free treatment on clothing exports to the United States.

�A trade preference program for Haiti was renewed through 2025 under the legislation approved by the committee.

�The bill creates the new classifications in the HTS for performance outerwear (this is the US OUTDOOR Act without the duty relief).

�The bill “corrects” the classification of athletic footwear in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSUS) to eliminate the differentiation between otherwise identical running shoes that that are classified differently because one protects the wearer against water and other outdoor elements (at a duty-rate of 37.5 percent), and the other does not (at a duty-rate of 20 percent).

The Customs bill remains the most controversial of the trade bills due to the currency provision and Malaysia human trafficking provision contained within the bill. One of two things will likely happen with the Customs bill: 1) it will never make it to the President’s desk due to these “poison pills” or 2) the more likely scenario is that the currency provision and Malaysia human trafficking provision will be stripped during Senate-House conference committee negotiations, and the Customs bill will be sent to the President without those provisions.

If the Customs bill does in fact die under its own weight, another provision that was attached during Committee mark-up would die along with it – a provision to “reform” the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process, which many expect could open the door to Congress passing an MTB later this year or next year.

House leaders say they will take up their TPA, TAA, GSP/AGOA/Haiti, Customs bills in June, although we are hearing that leaders remain 20-30 votes short of what they need to pass the legislation. We are working on your behalf to lobby for passage of TPA, etc in the House.

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