Manufacturers Call on Congress to End Gridlock on the MTB

By November 19, 2014Trade

Manufacturers continue facing congressional inaction on even the most bipartisan pieces of legislation that could help them create new opportunities for growth and jobs in the United States —  the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB).  For decades, the MTB has supported manufacturing jobs in the United States by cutting costs and strengthening manufacturers’ competitiveness. Under the MTB, manufacturers are permitted to import certain manufacturing inputs duty free when those products aren’t available in the United States.

With Congressional leadership elections underway, manufacturers will be looking to new leaders on the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees to address this unacceptable situation without further delay.

The MTB expired nearly two years ago and as a result, manufacturers’ costs have risen substantially – to the tune of $748 million tax – damaging their competitiveness and threatening their ability to retain and create new jobs. Congress’s failure to act on the MTB over the past 23 months continues to undermine manufacturing in America.

Manufacturers simply cannot afford these added costs, especially given the major challenges they are facing in the global economy. With each day that passes without action on the MTB, manufacturers of all sizes – in industries that drive our economy, ranging from agriculture and electronics to pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and textiles – pay tariffs on inputs they need to manufacture their products, undermining their competitiveness, raising their costs and damaging their ability to create new manufacturing jobs in this country. For example, companies like Lasko Products in West Chester, Pennsylvania – the last manufacturer of portable oscillating fans in this country – relies heavily on the MTB to stay competitive in this tough global market, and BASF, which employs more than 15,000 Americans, need an MTB to cut costs on their inputs so they can continue investing and creating new jobs in the United States.

Congress isn’t known for acting quickly. But missing a deadline by more than 680 days? That’s excessive by even Washington’s standards. Despite strong bipartisan support, this critical jobs bill continues to languish. The MTB is exactly the type of measure that Congress should be considering as our economy continues struggling to get back on its feet.

It is long past time that the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees moved this legislation forward. If process changes for future MTBs are necessary to move this legislation now, then committee leaders can surely develop bipartisan reforms that both parties can accept to address the issues raised.  If Members of Congress are serious about supporting manufacturing in this country, they will show leadership on the MTB by passing it and sending to the White House for the President’s signature immediately.

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