House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), today held a hearing that focused on how Congress can strengthen American manufacturing through the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) – bipartisan legislation to temporarily suspend or reduce tariffs on certain imported products.
As Chairman Reichert explained:
“The MTB is designed to boost the competitiveness of American manufacturers by lowering the cost of imported inputs and in some cases, finished goods, without harming domestic firms that produce competing products. Our manufacturers have used the savings from our past MTBs to strengthen their competitive edge, support the creation of domestic manufacturing jobs, increase U.S. production, and contribute to the economic growth of the United States.”
At the hearing, manufacturers from four different industries described the challenges their companies have faced since the last MTB expired in 2012.
For example, the family-owned manufacturing company Glen Raven – credited with inventing panty hose – has struggled to import the raw materials it needs to make its signature products, which has in turn affected its ability to create jobs and grow its business. As President and COO of Glen Raven Leib Oehmig said:
“Since the expiration of the last MTB in 2012, import taxes on acrylic fibers have cost Glen Raven millions of dollars that otherwise could have been invested in new jobs, research and development, design and other innovative activities.”
Matthew Schreiner, Global Leader GORE-TEX Footwear Innovation, and his customers, shared Mr. Oehmig’s concerns:
“The average consumer good has a duty rate of 1.3%, whereas footwear is taxed on average 11%; for our segment of the market, tariffs range from 20% to 37.5%. These hefty tariffs create an economic barrier to providing American consumers the most technologically advanced footwear.”
Expressing the urgent need for the MTB, Dawn Grove, Corporate Counsel for Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, explained:
“Each day that passes without a temporary [MTB] or some other easier new process for fixing the tariffs that penalize U.S. manufacturing limits our ability to make products and provide jobs here while competing on the global playing field.”
Members unanimously agreed on the need to move forward with a new and transparent process for considering manufacturing tax cuts through the MTB. That’s why Chairman Brady, Ranking Member Levin, Subcommittee Chairman Reichert, Subcommittee Ranking Member Rangel and 15 additional members of Congress introduced the bipartisan, bicameral American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016.
As Chairman Reichert said:
“Our bill delivers a regular and predictable legislative process for the temporary suspension and reduction of tariffs that helps our manufacturers and their employees. And it also is consistent with the rules of the House, and upholds our strong ban against earmarks … It will be a model of transparency and the American people can see the whole process all the way through.”
Witnesses expressed their support for the legislation and urged Congress to move forward as soon as possible. As Mr. Oehmig said:
“I hope Congress will work expeditiously, in a bipartisan and bicameral manner, to pass the new MTB process … this is one of the most impactful actions Congress can take to spur investment and job growth.”
For more information about the new MTB, click here.