January 22,1999

Committee Approves Tariff Bill and Nominees; Approves Subcommittee Assignments

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Finance Committee today favorably reported out S. 262, the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 1999. The miscellaneous trade bill is a compendium of technical corrections, temporary duty suspensions and reductions, and other minor changes to trade laws. S.262, except for some technical modifications, is identical to legislation that passed the full House and similar to legislation that was reported by the Senate Finance Committee last year. Each of the provisions included in the bill was the subject of extensive public comment and provisions that generated any opposition were dropped from consideration.

In summary, the bill consists of the following:

Several technical corrections to the trade laws designed to eliminate various obsolete references and clarify certain interpretations of the Uruguay Round Agreements.

Numerous provisions that temporarily suspend or reduce duties on a variety of products. The vast majority of the products in question are chemicals (130 of the 147), while the remaining relate to industrial goods (17 of the 147). There is no controversy surrounding any of these provisions; in each instance, the product in question iseither not produced in the United States or the domestic industry is supportive of the duty suspension.

26 minor changes to the trade laws, including measures designed to facilitate trade, expedite the processing of passengers, clarify ambiguities in the trade laws and correct certain incorrect duty assessments on imports.

The revenue raising proposal for this legislation is a provision that clarifies the definition of "subject to" liabilities under Code section 357(c). This is the same pay-for used to pay for the miscellaneous tariff bill last year.

The Committee also reported out favorably the following nominations:

• Susan G. Esserman, to be Deputy U.S. Trade Representative with the rank of Ambassador;

• Timothy F. Geithner, to be Under Secretary of the Department of the Treasury for International Affairs;

• Gary S. Gensler, to be Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance;

• Edwin M. Truman, to be Assistant Secretary of theTreasury for International Affairs; and,

• David C. Williams, to be Inspector General for Tax Administration, Department of Treasury.

In its organizational meeting, the committee:

Adopted the subcommittees and assignments (see attachment);

Designated Senators Roth, Chafee, Grassley, Moynihan and Baucus to serve on the Joint Committee on Taxation; and

Designated Senators Roth, Chafee, Grassley, Moynihan and Baucus to serve as Congressional Advisors on trade policies and negotiations.