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Environment

U.S. House approves tariff relief for some chemical imports

by Glenn Hess, special to C&EN
January 22, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 4

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Credit: Shutterstock
Sodium fluoride, one of the chemicals for which import tariffs will be suspended, is used to fluoridate drinking water.
Credit: Shutterstock
Sodium fluoride, one of the chemicals for which import tariffs will be suspended, is used to fluoridate drinking water.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 402-0 on Jan. 16 to pass legislation that would suspend import duties on nearly 1,700 products that are not made in the U.S. or are not available in sufficient quantities. Slightly more than half of the items—approximately 850—are raw materials and intermediate products that are used by the manufacturers of chemicals and plastics and related industries. The bill (H.R. 4318) now goes to the Senate, which is also likely to approve it. The tariff relief provided by the measure “will strengthen the competitive advantage of chemical manufacturers and the thousands of other businesses that depend on our products,” says the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry trade group. Eliminating the duties on the chemicals and plastics products listed in the bill will save U.S. manufacturers an estimated $207 million this year. The duty suspensions would expire at the end of 2020. Congress has not passed a tariff bill since a 2010 law expired at the end of 2012. Since then, “Chemical companies have been burdened by import duties on these materials, weakening our industry’s ability to compete globally and create well-paying jobs,” ACC says.

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