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Trade

U.S. Congress passes bill to reduce tariffs on essential raw materials

by Glenn Hess, special to C&EN
September 7, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 36

 

Even as President Donald J. Trump considers further escalating tariffs on imports from China, the House of Representatives gave final approval on Sept. 4 to legislation that would temporarily reduce or suspend import duties on nearly 1,700 raw materials and intermediate products. The bill, which was previously passed by the Senate, now goes to Trump’s desk for signing. It affects approximately 1,000 chemical and plastic products that are not available from domestic sources and would apply through Dec. 31, 2020. Supporters of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (H.R. 4318) say the measure will make U.S. manufacturers more competitive. “Requiring manufacturers to pay tariffs on products that simply aren’t made here runs up their manufacturing costs and puts them at a competitive disadvantage,” says Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. The last tariff relief bill passed by Congress expired at the end of 2012. The American Chemistry Council, which represents the U.S. chemical industry, says the tariffs “unnecessarily raise the costs of those inputs, deter innovation and economic growth, and ultimately weaken our country’s competitive advantage. Eliminating tariffs just makes good economic sense.”

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