In a year when many are concerned about whether trade legislation can move, the NAM commends the House and Senate trade leadership for initiating the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process last Friday. The MTB is a process by which import duties can be suspended on essential inputs to manufacturing in America that are unavailable from any domestic source and must be imported.
Import duties on inputs that have no domestic source of supply protect no one and are simply a tax on manufacturers in America – raising the cost of domestic production even higher than it is.
A recent report from the Manufacturing Institute and MAPI shows that it is already 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in America than it is for our major competitors, and the last thing manufacturers in America need is a tax hike – which is what would happen if the existing duty suspensions on vital inputs were allowed to expire.
We particularly want to commend Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp, Ranking Member Levin, Trade Subcommittee Chairman Brady, Ranking Member McDermott, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus for their introduction of the process. We also thank Representative Tom Reed (R-NY29) for his efforts and for taking the initiative in circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter pointing out that freshman Republicans view the MTB as vital to American manufacturing, and as a jobs bill. He is truly a pro-manufacturing leader.
The MTB is one of the NAM’s highest trade priorities for this year, and NAM has led the business community effort to show how important it is to avoid the tax increase on manufacturing that would occur if the MTB did not move forward. The MTB is unique in that it is among the most open and transparent processes in Congress, the benefit of which is available to all in the United States who desire to import the covered products – with no limit on the beneficiaries.
Having worked diligently with both the House and Senate, the NAM is fully confident of strong bipartisan support in both chambers. The action just taken is truly good news for manufacturers in the United States as they seek to compete in global markets.
Frank Vargo is vice president of international economic affairs, National Association of Manufacturers.