Keywords: US Congress, 2012 deadline,
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, MTB
On March 30, 2012, the Senate Finance Committee and the House
Ways and Means Committee announced the time frame and requirements
for Members of Congress to introduce bills to be included in the
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). MTBs offer importers an
opportunity to save substantial amounts in customs duties for as
long as three years. In order to qualify for a duty suspension or
reduction, a proposed tariff modification must: (i) be
non-controversial (i.e., not generate an objection from another
Member or a domestic producer), (ii) cost under $500,000 per year
in loss of revenue to the US Treasury, and (iii) be administrable
by US Customs and Border Protection.
In order to be included in the MTB, a bill must be:
A new temporary duty suspension or duty reduction on one
product or item;
An extension of an existing temporary duty suspension or duty
reduction on one product or item; or
A technical correction.
A duty suspension occurs when the duty rate is temporarily
reduced to zero, whereas a duty reduction occurs when a duty rate
is temporarily reduced but remains greater than zero.
After individual MTBs are introduced, they will undergo a
vetting process that includes posting for public comment, an
assessment by the Congressional Budget Office of the potential
revenue loss, and a review by the Department of Commerce, the
International Trade Commission, and other government agencies. All
individual bills that are approved through the vetting process will
be aggregated into a single bill which must be passed by Congress.
The most recently passed MTB included duty suspensions and
reductions on more than 700 products covering a wide range of
The deadline to submit individual tariff suspension bills is
April 30, 2012. The MTB process is an opportunity
for companies that imports goods to potentially reduce their import
In addition, current duty suspensions in effect under the
previous MTB expire on December 31, 2012. Any importer currently
benefitting from these duty suspensions must work with Congress to
introduce a new bill extending the duty suspension under the new
In order to ensure that it qualifies for the MTB, an importer
Review its imported products to make sure that they are
eligible for a duty suspension under the MTB;
Work closely with the US Senate and/or staff in crafting the
individual suspension bill for its products; and
Communicate with the International Trade Commission, the
Department of Commerce, and Customs and Border Protection to
address any issues arising from the review process.
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Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal
issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a
comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific
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