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New Legislation on Trade Enforcement, China Tariffs, Export Controls, Mail Shipments

Trade Agreements and Enforcement. The Presidential Trade Transparency Act (S. 408, introduced Feb. 16 by Sen. Wyden, D-Ore., and H.R. 1172, introduced Feb. 16 by Rep. Neal, D-Mass.) would require the president to disclose income, assets, and liabilities when initiating or continuing trade or investment negotiations with a foreign country, taking or refraining from taking certain trade enforcement actions, or granting or modifying preferential tariff treatment under statutory trade preference programs. The president would also have to describe in detail the nature of the connection between the income, asset, or liability and the foreign country. Failure to timely submit a report would render without legal effect a presidential proclamation modifying U.S. tariffs with respect to the country and disqualify a trade agreement for expedited consideration under trade promotion authority.

China Tariffs. H.R. 1048 (introduced Feb. 14 by Rep. King, R-Iowa) would direct the president to impose duties on goods from China in an amount equivalent to the estimated annual loss of revenue to holders of U.S. intellectual property rights as a result of violations of such IPR in China. The resulting revenue would be proportionally distributed to provide compensation to U.S. IPR holders.

Export Controls. The Secure E-Waste Export and Recycling Act (H.R. 917, introduced Feb. 7 by Rep. Cook, R-Calif.) would control the export of electronic waste to ensure it does not become the source of counterfeit goods that may reenter military and civilian electronics supply chains in the U.S. A press release from Cook’s office states that under this bill domestic recycling would be required of all untested, non-working electronics but exports of tested working equipment would continue. U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be authorized to inspect shipments of electronic products intended for export.

Mail Shipments. Legislation introduced Feb. 14 (S. 372, introduced by Sen. Portman, R-Ohio, and H.R. 1057, introduced by Rep. Tiberi, R-Ohio) would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to ensure that goods arriving through the mail are subject to review by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and to require advance electronic information on mail shipments to be provided to CBP.

Reshoring. The Bring Jobs Home Act (H.R. 685, introduced Jan. 24 by Rep. Pascrell, D-N.J., and S. 247, introduced Jan. 30 by Sen. Stabenow, D-Mich.) would amend the Internal Revenue Code to (1) grant business taxpayers a tax credit for up to 20 percent of insourcing expenses incurred for eliminating a business located outside the U.S. and relocating it within the U.S. and (2) deny a tax deduction for outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a U.S. business outside the U.S.

Cuba. The Agricultural Export Expansion Act (S. 275, introduced Feb. 2 by Sen. Heitkamp, D-N.D.) would allow U.S. persons to finance sales of agricultural commodities to Cuba. A press release from Heitkamp’s office notes that in January 2016 the Obama administration loosened export restrictions to allow companies to sell non-agricultural products to Cuba on credit but that legal restrictions on financing exports of agricultural products to Cuba are still in place.

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