United States: International Trade & Regulatory Advisory: Opportunity For Import Duty Suspensions Or Reductions Under The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Petition Process

Last Updated: November 11 2019
Article by Jason M. Waite and Chunlian Yang

The 60-day filing period is open for Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) petitions before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) pursuant to the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (AMCA). Under this process, interested parties (e.g., U.S. importers and trade associations) may petition for temporary suspensions or reductions of the duties imposed by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule on imported products and may save up to $500,000 in annual import duties. In assessing a petition, the ITC considers multiple factors, including:

  • Whether the estimated loss in revenue to the United States from the duty suspension or reduction exceeds $500,000 in a calendar year.
  • Whether there is domestic production of an identical, like, or directly competitive product. 
  • Whether there is any objection to the petition.
  • Whether the duty suspension or reduction can be administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • Whether the benefit is available to any person that imports the article.

The key is to identify a narrowly defined product that lacks domestic sources. These products are typically raw material inputs for manufacturing and proprietary parts not available in the U.S. But the final MTB list from the previous 2016 petition cycle (valid through December 2020) covers a wide range of products, including chemicals, textiles, apparel and footwear, travel and sporting goods, and electronics and machinery. Of the 3,162 petitions received by the ITC during the previous round, 2,524 were included in the ITC’s recommendations to Congress. Thus, the current MTB process provides importers of eligible products an opportunity for substantial duty savings. 

The new petition requirements differ from the previous MTB process in some respects. Specifically, as noted in the ITC’s August 27, 2019 notice, a petition must include the following additional information:

  • An estimate of the total value and dutiable value in U.S. dollars for the next five calendar years.
  • An estimate of the share of total imports represented by the petitioner’s imports of the subject article.
  • The names of any domestic producers of the subject article, if available.
  • A certification that the information supplied in the petition is complete and correct to the best of the petitioner’s knowledge and belief and that the petitioner understands that the information submitted is subject to audit and verification by the ITC. 

Within 30 days after the expiration of the petition period, the ITC will open a 45-day period of public comments. Review of the MTB petitions and comments is a joint effort by multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce, which will be involved in determining domestic production of the subject products and is expected to deliver a report by April 2020. After reviewing the petitions and public comments, the ITC will present its analysis and recommendations to Congress in a preliminary report by June 2020 and then a final report by August 2020. Congress will ultimately determine the miscellaneous tariff bill that suspends or reduces import duties once enacted, for a period not exceeding three years. 

The current MTB petition deadline is December 10, 2019. Nonetheless, the ITC encourages early petitions to allow for ITC review, and, if necessary, adjustment and resubmission of the petition by the petitioner. This is a great opportunity for U.S. companies to obtain temporary duty savings for imported products that lack domestic sources. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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