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US Chamber Says Changes to AD/CVD Laws Harmful, Opposes de Minimis Carve-Out

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hopes to be able to support the House China package, since the trade group supported the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, but said the House bill "continues to include numerous policies that would undermine U.S. competitiveness, and Members are being denied the opportunity to vote on amendments to address these issues." The Chamber said it will push during the conference process to get better bill.

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Neil Bradley, the Chamber's top policy officer, highlighted a number of concerns with the trade title, saying the Senate versions of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill and the Generalized System of Preferences benefits program are preferable to the House versions. He issued a lengthy critique of what he called sweeping changes to U.S. antidumping duty and countervailing duty laws "that have not received the scrutiny and deliberation required for such a complex, far-reaching proposal.

Such changes "would fast-track AD/CVD investigations based on the findings of earlier, unrelated cases in a manner that could injure U.S. businesses that had nothing to do with the past cases in question," he said. "The bill would change methodologies in ways that would increase tariffs and extend the reach of duties to goods from all producers in a given country in the event a single firm was found to engage in dumping or to receive countervailable subsidies. The bill also glosses over the extremely substantial challenges of determining third-country subsidization contemplated in the bill. In sum, the bill has the potential to favor a handful of businesses at the expense of a much wider swath of industries employing many more American workers, thereby undermining the global competitiveness, productivity, and growth prospects of many more U.S. firms in high-growth sectors."

On the proposal to remove Chinese exports from eligibility for claiming de minimis, the Chamber said, "it would add substantially to the workload of CBP personnel who are already stretched thin. Further, it would increase costs with a particularly large impact on U.S. small businesses. Above all, any legislation on this matter should be delayed pending the conclusion of the pilot programs on Section 321 and Type 86 data pilot programs, which have already shown promise by allowing CBP to segment risk and target shipments more accurately even though the pilot programs and associated findings and conclusions are not complete."

It said it wishes the House had mirrored USICA's proposal to direct the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to reinstate previously granted tariff exclusions and to reopen a broader exclusion process. A bipartisan amendment was introduced to do that, but was not allowed to receive a vote.

The Chamber did say it was thankful that the Competes Act did not contain the Country of Origin Labeling proposal that was in USICA. "This ill-conceived provision would add significant complexity, costs and burdens to the existing programs authorized by trade laws and enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Such a new, conflicting regulatory regime would create a new liability for retailers and sellers to not only post the required information but certify the accuracy of the information provided by product vendors, and does not include a corresponding obligation for manufacturers, rights owners, distributors, and other sellers," Bradley wrote. "Labeling provisions were added to USICA legislation without sufficient opportunity for stakeholders to discuss their concerns. Many unanswered questions remain about the practicality and administrability of such a provision."