October 27,2000

Senate Passes Roth's Tariff Suspension and Trade Act of 2000

Bans Importation of Dog and Cat Fur

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) cheered the Senate passage, by unanimous consent late Thursday night, of H.R. 4868, the Tariff Suspension and Trade Act of 2000, a compendium of non-controversial duty suspensions, common-sense trade law modifications, and technical changes. The bill also contains key provisions authored by Senator Roth that ban the importation of products made with dog and cat fur and that help reduce the cost of anti-HIV and anti-AIDS drugs.

"With the passage of this legislation, we are one step closer to banning the importation of products made with dog or cat fur," stated Roth. "This bill includes a critically important provision that I first introduced last year, that bans the importation of products made with dog or cat fur. An estimated 2,000,000 dogs and cats are slaughtered and sold annually as part of the international fur trade. We want this trade in dog and cat pelts to stop at our borders, and hopefully save millions of animals from this cruel practice. I have worked very hard to see this bill come to fruition, and I urge the President to sign it into law.

"We are also helping companies across the United States reduce their costs on vital inputs used in manufacturing a wide variety of products. Among these are provisions that help reduce the costs of potentially life-saving medicines used to treat HIV and AIDS.

"I am particularly proud that this bill will have an immediate and positive impact on my home state of Delaware. There are provisions in this bill that reduce duties on imports used by Delaware companies to manufacture final products.

"There are also restrictions on cigarette imports included in this legislation will help ensure that cigarettes entering our market will fully comply with all health and labeling requirements. It will also ensure that Delaware receives its full share of payments under the tobacco settlement agreement, which will likely mean millions of additional dollars to my state and others."

Included in the bill:

Ban on importation of products using cat or dog fur: This provision, authored by Roth, prohibits the importation or sale of products made from dog and cat pelts.

Ban on "Gray Market" Cigarettes: This provision would end the importation of "gray market" cigarettes which are currently siphoning money from the states' tobacco settlement. Manufactured abroad and bearing U.S.- registered trademarks, "gray market" cigarettes are diverted to the United States market, thus undermining funding for the states' tobacco settlement funds and potentially evading federal health requirements, banning the importation of such cigarettes. These "gray market" cigarettes may account for as much as 14% of all cigarette sales in the United States.

Suspension of Tariff collected on Imports of HIV-Combating Drugs: Two provisions (that Sen. Roth introduced, S. 2391 and S. 2392) temporarily suspended the tariff collected on imports of HIV-combating drugs, thus lowering the price for HIV infected consumers in the United States. The two drugs are DPC 961 and DPC 083. Their combined potency, excellent resistance profile, lower protein binding, and longer plasma half life increases the probability that these drugs will successfully treat both HIV patients who have not previously had a similar treatment as well as those HIV patients who have already developed resistance to currently available agents. According to publicly available information, there is no other HIV treatment in clinical trials that is expected to be able to treat most patients with resistance to currently available agents. They are also expected to have the advantage of once daily therapy.

Recycling provision: The Chairman included a provision that will create an economic incentive for importers to recycle their defective goods rather than simply destroy them and put them in a dump. Under existing current law an importer may be eligible for duty drawback (refund of 99% of the import duty paid) on products that were determined to be defective, so long as they are destroyed by the importer. The purpose of this provision is to allow for drawback when the product is recycled, rather than destroyed.