NCBFAA Monitors Rapid-Moving America COMPETES Act

The NCBFAA Legislative Committee and Counsel are monitoring sweeping trade legislation that is currently making its way through the House and, if passed, will impact customs brokers and freight forwarders, as well as their clients. The complete breakdown is below, and you can click here to watch Welke Customs Brokers USA’s President/CEO address this piece of legislation.

The America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521) was introduced in the House on Jan. 24. The key measures of the proposed legislation for our members include:

General System of Preferences (GSP) Reauthorization—the legislation would reauthorize GSP through Dec. 31, 2024, retroactive to Dec. 30, 2020, and calls for the addition of new human rights and anti-poverty requirements for countries in the program to maintain their eligibility.

Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) – the legislation would include duty suspensions and reductions for product imports through Dec. 31, 2023, and reauthorizes the MTB process for two cycles, starting in 2022 and 2025, but it would exclude finished products from inclusion in future MTBs. It will also provide a four-month retroactive period.

De Minimis – the legislation includes a version of House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) proposed legislation of Jan. 18, specifically eliminating the use of Section 321 entry for products entering the U.S. from countries that are non-market economies and on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s priority watch list for IPR violations. These limitations currently would only apply to China. It also requires Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect more data on de minimis and adds enforcement measurements against importers who abuse de minimis.

Strengthens Antidumping and Countervailing (AD/CV) Duty Laws – the legislation provides the Commerce Department with authority to apply CV duty law to subsidies provided by a government to a company operating in a different country, makes it easier for petitioners to bring new cases against companies that move production to other countries, and imposes statutory requirements for the process and timeline of inquiries into circumvention of AD/CV duty orders

Heightened Fish Import Oversight – the legislation includes the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Act, a measure that significantly expands the current Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). Not only does it broaden coverage to include all imported seafood species and adds forced labor to the list of prohibited practices, but it would require complete and detailed supply chain data to be provided electronically 72 hours in advance.

Enhanced Foreign investment Review – the legislation calls for increasing the federal government’s ability to review and potentially block certain foreign investments by U.S. companies that seek to offshore critical product manufacturing and supply chains to foreign adversaries and non-market economies.

NCBFAA Legislative Counsel Nicole Bivens Collinson warns that the legislation, although subject to change in the days and weeks ahead, is expected to move quickly through the House quickly and onto conference to align with the Senate’s already passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.

Amendments were due Friday, Jan. 28, and NCBFAA expects a “manager’s mark” to be introduced that may include some of these amendments. The association is aware of an amendment from Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) that expresses the sense of Congress that USTR should reopen the section 301 exclusion process within 90 days of the effective date of the law. There may be several more amendments related to trade and NCBFAA will update as this bill develops. The NCBFAA Legislative Committee, with input from the Customs and Transportation Committee leadership, will respond to those parts of the legislation that negatively impact U.S. customs brokers and freight forwarders. See the America COMPETES Act in this section-by-section summary.