© [2019], Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. Originally published in the [11/12/2019] issue of the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report. Reprinted by permission.

The process for submitting petitions for tariff suspensions and reductions under the miscellaneous trade bill process opened Oct. 11 and will close Dec. 10. Petitions may seek new suspensions or reductions or a continuation of those approved in the most recent MTB, which will expire Dec. 31, 2020.

MTBs suspend or reduce most-favored-nation duties (i.e., not those imposed under provisions such as Section 301) on imported inputs and products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production and availability. Each approved duty modification can result in savings of up to $500,000 per year.

Petitioners must demonstrate that they are likely beneficiaries of the request, submit disclosure forms, and include specific types of information. The International Trade Commission will have to publish all compliant petitions on its website by approximately Jan. 10, 2020. After a 45-day public comment period, the ITC will submit a final list of approved petitions to Congress, which could approve the MTB in the fall of 2020.

Each MTB provision is evaluated against several criteria, including whether it is enforceable by U.S. Customs and Border Protection; i.e., whether it includes a correct tariff classification and uses descriptive language that clearly and narrowly describes the product in a manner that supports that classification and is administrable by CBP. Noting that many of the nearly 700 petitions not recommended to Congress for inclusion in an MTB during the last cycle had “issues” in these areas, the ITC has urged prospective petitioners to act now to ensure their goods are correctly classified.