Future activities of the US House Committee on Ways and Means are critical to trade relations, especially its review of systemic problems in Sino-U.S. trade relations, which include issues related to
According to a list of proposed activities circulated by the US House Committee on Ways and Means (111th Congress), the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittees will focus on several trade issues, such as the enforcement of WTO rights, ways to strengthen US trade remedy laws, trying to improve existing mechanisms to open foreign markets to US products, and improving border enforcement (i.e., problems of counterfeit imports and import safety). There is also H.R. 496, the proposed new trade law.
"H.R. 496, the Trade Enforcement Act of 2009, would actively open markets by eliminating foreign barriers to
Although many of these issues are also addressed in the Trade Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 496), on January 14, 2009, the Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (Democrat-NY) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sandy Levin (Democrat-Mich) introduced wide-ranging legislation, which may be considered within the next few months and addresses issues of promoting and strengthening US trade enforcement efforts, such as the following.
"The Department of Commerce's decision to allow countervailing duties to be assessed against products from non-market economy countries such as China would be codified, which would provide firmer legal ground for this trade remedy mechanism and prevent future administrations from reversing course. The legislation makes the presumption that special difficulties exist in calculating the amount of subsidy benefits in
The DOC would be barred from considering requests for market economy treatment at the individual business enterprise level in anti-dumping proceedings involving an NME.
Congress would have to approve any decision by the DOC to graduate a country from NME to market economy status.
The president's discretion to deny relief in a Section 421 China product-specific safeguard investigation would be limited. The legislation would allow Congress to override a presidential decision not to establish temporary duties or quotas when recommended by the U.S. International Trade Commission and would impose additional limitations on the president's authority to deny remedial action.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative would be required to identify annually "priority foreign countries" with unfair trade barriers and take action to eliminate those barriers.
The "Super 301" process would be restored and the USTR would be required to annually prioritise the most significant barriers to
An Office of the Congressional Trade Enforcer would be created to investigate barriers to
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In the end, according to the Hong Kong Trader, the House may approve such legislation, propose an amended version of the same legislation or even attach other provisions to the legislation. The trade subcommittee also intends to examine other issues of interest. For example, it plans to hold hearings to assess the efficacy of
Virtually all duty suspensions currently in effect will expire at the end of this year as the previous Congress did not enact an MTB. Generally, provisions for new duty suspensions may be added during this process provided the action is not controversial (i.e., no
There is strong bi-partisan support for removing these duties because their original purpose of protecting domestic production is no longer valid and they impose a heavy burden on low- and middle-income households. Import duties on types of shoes that are still produced in the
House Ways and Means, Rangel, Levin Introduce Trade Enforcement Bill -- Bill would strengthen enforcement, help to ensure that trading partners play by the rules, For Immediate Release:
Outlook for Congressional Action on Trade-Related Legislation this Year,
H.R. 496, the Trade Enforcement Act of 2009, Click here to read a short summary of the bill.
Rep. Sandy Levin (D.-Mich), Op-Ed, A policy that goes on the offense for U.S. businesses and workers, The Hill.com, June 10, 2008.