WASHINGTON—Organizations such as the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the National Retail Federation are praising Senate passage of a bill that would strengthen protections to domestic industries against dumping and intellectual property theft by importers.
The Senate approved the conference report on H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, by a 75-20 vote Feb. 11. The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.
Among other things, H.R. 644 would:
• Direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure that its partnership programs provide trade benefits to importers, exporters and other private sector entities that meet program requirements;
• Direct CBP to establish priorities and performance standards to measure levels of achievement in customs modernization, the movement of merchandise into and out of the U.S. (trade facilitation), and trade enforcement functions and programs;
• Direct CBP to inform all U.S. trademark and copyright owners of all suspected trademark and copyright infringements from merchandise imported into the U.S.;
• Amend existing antidumping and countervailing duty laws to strengthen enforcement; and
• Give the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative additional authority to enforce trade laws and protect intellectual property rights.
The bill helps level the playing field for American workers and manufacturers, according to AAM Press Secretary Jet Moody.
“Countless U.S. jobs have been lost because of predatory trade practices like foreign dumping, subsidies and other unfair practices,” Moody said. “This bill gives U.S. companies and American workers the tools to fight back, making it easier to address trade cheating with reforms to the processes of handling allegations of trade law evasion.”
The AAM's only disappointment with the bill, she said, is that it does not address the issue of currency manipulation by China and other countries.
The day before the Senate vote, the NRF wrote Senate leadership in support of H.R. 644.
“The (bill) provides important provisions that will help CBP continue to balance trade facilitation with trade enforcement, both of which are priority issues for the nation's retailers,” wrote David French, NRF senior vice president. “Modernizing CBP operations is essential in the ever-increasing global economy.”