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July 27, 2015

Time To Call Your Lawmaker: Customs Bill Negotiators Could Tackle Currency Provision This Week

According to Politico’s “Morning Trade,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are still hopeful House and Senate lawmakers will meet before the August recess to resolve their differences on a customs reauthorization bill that was passed earlier this summer as part of a package of trade-related bills. 

As Connecting the Dots noted last week, the debate on this bill is important to MSCI and its members because the Senate version of the bill includes language that would require the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate allegations of currency manipulation and consider countervailing duties to address it. 

The Senate’s version of the customs bill also includes the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act, which would address foreign efforts to evade trade-remedy orders. (To learn more about this provision, which MSCI also supports, we urge you to read this letter from our partners at the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Iron and Steel Institute.) 

Since the House version of the bill does not include either of these provisions, it is unclear whether they will survive and make it into a final bill. That’s why MSCI continues to urge its members to call their representatives and senators to urge them to support the Senate provisions. Members are also encouraged to call members of the customs bill conference committee. House conferences have not yet been named, but Senate conferees are: Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Thune (R-SD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Tell lawmakers that failure to enact this language would put the United States at a competitive disadvantage and erode the benefits of passing the Trade Promotion Authority bill they passed earlier this summer. 

In related news: Reuters reported that the Chinese government announced Friday that it would “widen two-way fluctuation in the yuan exchange rate and study the introduction of products to help firms mitigate foreign exchange risks.” The government did not offer any specifics of its plan, however.