Baucus, Grassley Announce Process for Miscellaneous Tariff Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today announced the process for Senators to introduce individual bills for
possible inclusion in a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB). In the announcement, the Senators emphasized
that individual bills must, in accordance with long-running Committee practice, meet specific criteria in
order to be eligible for inclusion in the MTB. For example, any MTB bill must be non-controversial and
any duty suspension must amount to less than $500,000 in annual lost revenue. Full text of the Baucus-
Grassley announcement follows:
Baucus and Grassley Request Introduction of
Miscellaneous Tariff Bills by October 30, 2009
Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on
Finance, announced today that all Senators who plan to introduce temporary miscellaneous tariff
legislation must do so by Friday, October 30, 2009, for such legislation to be considered for inclusion in a
miscellaneous tariff bill this year.
Since the early 1980s, the Senate Committee on Finance (the Committee), which has jurisdiction over
international trade matters, has incorporated non-controversial individual miscellaneous tariff bills into
a larger piece of legislation known as the miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB). The MTB provides an
opportunity to temporarily eliminate or reduce duties on imported products, to reliquidate entries in
instances of customs error and for which no litigation is pending, and to make technical corrections to
U.S. tariff laws.
To be included in the MTB, bills must meet numerous requirements and undergo a thorough vetting
process by the Committee, the independent U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the U.S.
Department of Commerce (DOC), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP). Senate
offices will be required to submit various forms and information to the Committee and the reviewing
agencies involved, and to adhere to strict requirements and deadlines. The Committee then makes the
final determination as to whether each bill meets the requirements and is eligible or ineligible for
inclusion in the MTB.
Provided below is a detailed outline of the MTB process and requirements. For questions that concern
the Committee, please contact Rory Murphy on the Democratic trade staff or David Johanson on the
Republican trade staff at 202-224-4515.
Below is an explanation of the MTB process in the Senate, including the roles of the Committee, Senate
offices, ITC, DOC, CBP, and the public.
Committee on Finance
The first step in the MTB process in the Senate is the issuance of this announcement by the Chairman
and Ranking Member of the Committee. Today’s announcement specifies the deadline by which
Senators must introduce bills for inclusion in the MTB, as well as an explanation of the process and
requirements. Following the deadline of October 30, 2009, the Committee will post on its website each
bill under consideration (i.e. introduced) for inclusion in the MTB. The Committee will also post the
corresponding requisite forms (i.e. the Bill Description Form and the Limited Tariff Benefit Disclosure
Statement) that must be submitted to the Committee by each Senator after introducing a bill. The
forms are attached to this announcement. Once all of the bills are posted, the Committee will issue an
advisory that requests comments from the public on bills under consideration for inclusion in the MTB.
The Committee will post the comments on the Committee website after the comment period
concludes. After reviewing all of the information available, including information from the ITC, CBP,
DOC, and public comments, the Committee will determine whether a bill meets the requirements and
thus is eligible or ineligible for inclusion in the MTB.
Each Senator should introduce his or her bills prior to the October 30, 2009, deadline for inclusion in the
MTB. Before introduction of a bill, each Senate office must ensure that a proposed bill falls into one of
four categories: (1) a new temporary duty suspension or duty reduction on a narrowly defined product;
(2) an extension of an existing temporary duty suspension or duty reduction on a narrowly defined
product; (3) a reliquidation of specific entries in instances of customs error and for which no litigation is
pending; or (4) a technical correction to U.S. tariff laws. In addition, a bill cannot reduce or eliminate
tariffs retroactively, or reduce or eliminate tariffs imposed as a result of U.S. antidumping duty orders,
countervailing duty orders, safeguard measures, or retaliatory sanctions. A duty suspension occurs when
the duty rate is temporarily reduced to zero, whereas a duty reduction occurs when a duty rate is
temporarily reduced but remains greater than zero.
Each Senate office should contact the Office of Legislative Counsel about drafting a bill. If a
corresponding bill was previously introduced in the House of Representatives, please provide Legislative
Counsel with the current H.R. bill number. If a bill has not been introduced in the House of
Representatives, the Senate office should finalize the technical details of the bill before submitting a
drafting request to Legislative Counsel. Finalizing technical details means complying with the
requirements of this announcement and contacting the ITC and CBP to obtain technical assistance on
proper format, nomenclature, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) numbers,
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry numbers in the description of chemical names, and Color Index
numbers for dyes, pigments, and other coloring matter, where appropriate. This should be done well in
advance of the October 30, 2009, deadline, because there often is a flurry of requests as the deadline
Not later than 5 business days after the date on which a bill is introduced, each Senator is required to
submit to the Committee a Bill Description Form and a Limited Tariff Benefit Disclosure Statement.
These forms will be made available to Senate offices via the Committee website. The forms are also
attached to this announcement.
The ITC, DOC, and CBP will initiate relevant reviews after bills are introduced and will conduct reviews
independently of each other. A Senate office should, where appropriate, consult with the agencies
regarding the status of the agencies’ reviews. Senate offices should make themselves available to
discuss the bills and provide additional information to the agencies if requested. The ITC, DOC, and CBP
may recommend technical modifications to a bill. The Committee will strongly weigh all agency
After the public comment period concludes and comments have been posted on the Committee
website, each Senate office is encouraged to review the comments. If a domestic producer submits
comments objecting to a bill, such bill will be deemed controversial in nature and thus be ineligible for
inclusion in the MTB.
Lastly, failure to provide the Committee with any of the required documents and supporting information
within the designated time period will disqualify an otherwise eligible bill from inclusion in the MTB.
Incomplete documents will not satisfy the requirements.
U.S. International Trade Commission
Once bills are introduced, the ITC will seek information about the existence of domestic production and
whether a domestic producer objects to a bill. The ITC will also seek information about the revenue that
would be lost upon entry into force of the bill in the present year and in future years. This is known as
the estimated annual revenue loss, which cannot exceed $500,000 per year. The estimate is not limited
to what is attributable to the proponent, but rather will include all goods that would qualify if the bill
were to enter into force. The ITC may also suggest technical changes to the product description in the
The information compiled by the ITC may be provided in a Congressional Bill Report, which may be
found on the ITC website. For questions that concern the ITC, please contact Daniel Shepherdson at
202-205-2598 or at Daniel.Shepherdson@usitc.gov.
U.S. Department of Commerce
DOC will formulate an Administration position on each bill after determining whether domestic
production exists and whether any domestic producer opposes a bill. DOC will also work with the Office
of Management and Budget to coordinate interagency review and clearance of Administration positions
on the bills. For questions that concern the DOC, please contact Erin Mewhirter at 202-482-8244 or at
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency
CBP will determine if a bill will be administrable when goods are presented for importation. Among
other things, CBP may suggest technical changes to the product description. For questions that concern
CBP, please contact Shaun Keller at 202-344-3615 or at Shaun.Keller@dhs.gov.
Senate Bill Requirements
Below is an explanation of the requirements that must be met in order for a bill to be considered for
inclusion in the MTB. A bill must meet all of the requirements listed below.
1. The bill must be introduced by the sponsoring Senator as stand-alone legislation on or before
October 30, 2009.
2. The bill must fall into one of four categories: (a) a new temporary duty suspension or duty reduction
on a narrowly defined product; (b) an extension of an existing temporary duty suspension or duty
reduction on a narrowly defined product; (c) a reliquidation of specific entries in instances of
customs error and for which no litigation is pending; or (d) a technical correction to U.S. tariff laws.
A duty suspension occurs when the duty rate is temporarily reduced to zero, while a duty reduction
occurs when a duty rate is temporarily reduced but remains greater than zero.
3. A bill cannot reduce or eliminate tariffs retroactively, or reduce or eliminate tariffs imposed as a
result of U.S. antidumping duty orders, countervailing duty orders, safeguard measures, or
4. (a) A bill providing for a new temporary duty suspension or temporary duty reduction must include
i. Only one product;
ii. A precise physical description of the product at the time of entry. Avoid using
protected terms or trade names for products. Avoid defining a product by its end
use in such a manner that the product can be identified only by tracking the end
product after it leaves the point of entry. For example, a Senate office should not
introduce a duty suspension on “steel screws used in furniture,” because CBP
officials would be unable at the border to distinguish those particular steel screws
from any others. The Senate office would need to find a unique and functional
feature of the screws present upon importation for description purposes;
iii. The correct 8-digit HTSUS number;
iv. A CAS registry number in the description of a chemical name. Similarly, dyes,
pigments, and other coloring matter should be identified by a Color Index name.
Senate offices should also consider identifying chemicals by using widely recognized
naming conventions, such as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
(b) A bill that extends an existing provision should simply modify the effective date of the
existing temporary 8-digit HTSUS number in Chapter 99 of the HTSUS (note that the number
begins with “9902”).
(c) A bill that reliquidates specific certain entries due to customs error should include the date(s)
of entry of the product and the 11-digit entry number(s).
5. There cannot be more than one bill covering the same product. If multiple bills are introduced that
each contains a narrow description of substantially similar articles falling under the same 8-digit
subheading of the HTSUS, only one such bill will be eligible for inclusion in the MTB.
6. For bills that temporarily eliminate or reduce duties, the estimated revenue that would be lost upon
entry into force of the bill cannot exceed $500,000 per year.
7. Because the MTB is passed by unanimous consent, it is essential that each of its provisions be noncontroversial. A bill will be considered controversial if another Senator objects to the bill or if a
domestic producer objects to the bill. A domestic producer is a person or firm who demonstrates
actual production of the article in commercially available quantities prior to the date of introduction
of the bill.
8. Each Senator introducing a bill is required to submit a Bill Description Form, which provides general
information about the bill. A signed hard copy of the form must be delivered to the Clerk of the
Committee located at 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building and a PDF version of the signed copy must
be sent via email to email@example.com not later than 5 business days after the
date on which the bill is introduced.
9. To assist in complying with Senate Rule XLIV, each Senator introducing a bill is required to submit a
Limited Tariff Benefit Disclosure Statement. A signed hard copy of the form must be delivered to the
Clerk of the Committee located at 219 Dirksen Senate Office Building and a PDF version of the
signed copy must be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org not later than 5 business
days after the date on which the bill is introduced.
See the printer-friendly version of this release for the following two forms:
1) BILL DESCRIPTION FORM
2) LIMITED TARIFF BENEFIT DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
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