Trade Cases

Customs Bill Passes Senate and Heads to White House

Written by Sandy Williams

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 passed by a margin of 75-20 in the Senate this morning. The customs bill has been advocated by the steel industry to strengthen measures to combat unfairly traded and subsidized imports. The bill now moves to the President for anticipated approval and signature. 

The American Iron and Steel institute applauded passage of the bill in a press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) today hailed Senate passage, by a vote of 75-20, of the conference report for the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (the customs bill). The measure includes the ENFORCE Act, which is critical to the steel industry to ensure that antidumping and countervailing duty orders against unfairly traded imports are being fully and vigorously enforced at the border.

“By approving the customs bill today a majority of U.S. Senators voted to ensure strong enforcement of our trade remedy laws. This is an important piece of legislation that gives U.S. manufacturing industries and their workers new tools to fight back against unfair trade, said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). “Steel imports are decimating the American steel industry and it is imperative that we have the strongest tools and resources to fight back. The ENFORCE Act would create new procedures at Customs and Border Protection to address the evasion of antidumping and countervailing duty orders within set deadlines. If we do not strongly enforce our trade laws, the domestic steel industry will continue to suffer harm. We appreciate the support of our steel champions in Congress and of the Administration on this bill, and look forward to these provisions being signed into law and implemented as quickly as possible to help fight against the rampant evasion of trade remedy orders that continues to injure the steel industry.”

The Steel Manufacturers Association President Philip K. Bell had the following comments on passage of the Act.

“I am pleased that the Senate has passed this long overdue legislation. Of particular importance to SMA members are provisions that address the growing and injurious practice engaged in by foreign competitors who seek to evade U.S. antidumping and countervailing duties, oftentimes by transshipping products through a third country and/or misclassifying the true origin of imports entering the United States,” said Bell.

“Rampant duty evasion undermines the impact of trade cases, thereby harming the domestic industry and its workforce. The passage of this legislation is an important step in ensuring that duties are collected and our nation’s trade laws are enforced,” said Bell.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), leaders for the legislation praised the Senate for passing the Act. Hatch said it marks “a major step forward” to bolster U.S. interests in international trade.

“This bill is about coming down hard on the trade cheats who are ripping off American jobs, and the truth is past trade policies were often too old, too slow or too weak for our country to fight back,” said Wyden.

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