November 1, 2015

Tell Congress To Keep Currency Language In Customs Reauthorization Bill

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, lawmakers and staff on the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees are nearing completion of their informal work negotiating the differences between the House and Senate versions of H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, or the customs reauthorization bill that passed both chambers earlier this year. 

According to Politico’s “Morning Trade,” Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) said a formal conference committee could convene “in a matter of weeks” and that he wants Congress to finish the bill before tackling President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Sen. Wyden said, “Our big [priority] on this is to be able to get to the customs conference quickly. Because the customs conference is an area where you’ll find some common ground on trade. Both sides understand how important it is that when you’re talking about new trade bills and new trade issues, you better do a better job of enforcing the laws that are on the books now.” 

While it is still unclear when the formal conference committee will meet, or when this legislation will come to the House and Senate floors for a final vote, MSCI continues to urge its members to contact their lawmakers about this bill, particularly if they are members of the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee. (Members of the Finance Committee can be found here while members of the Ways and Means Committee are listed here.) 

As a reminder, the Senate version of the customs bill includes language that would require the Commerce Department investigate allegations of currency manipulation and consider countervailing duties to address it, but, since the House version of the bill does not include this provision, it is unclear whether they will survive and make it into a final bill. MSCI members should tell their representatives and senators that failure to enact the Senate’s currency language would put the United States at a competitive disadvantage and erode the benefits of passing the Trade Promotion Authority bill Congress passed earlier this summer.