Senators Introduce Bill to Ensure Industry Access to Duty-Free Trade Program

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U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), co-chairs of the Senate RV Caucus, along with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), recently introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure the RV industry has access to the generalized system of preferences duty-free trade program.

The bill would more accurately characterize current domestic economic production by requiring a review of trade data from the last three calendar years, as opposed to antiquated data from 1995, as currently required.

“This bipartisan proposal would make a common sense change to ensure the federal government uses current data, as originally intended, in determining participation in a duty-free trade program,” said Donnelly. “The Indiana RV industry and other manufacturers could potentially benefit, allowing for greater economic growth in northern Indiana. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senators Ernst and Portman to support the thousands of Hoosier workers in the RV industry and the local businesses that help provide opportunities for Hoosier families.”

“At present, manufacturers could see an increase in tariffs on certain imports that are important not only to Iowa, but our country,” said Ernst. “This bipartisan bill offers a straightforward approach to modernize outdated trade policy, offering relief from tariffs for our manufacturers.”

The proposal would modernize a waiver process that allows the U.S. trade representative to provide duty-free treatment to certain items if current domestic production of the item is considered.

Under current law, antiquated trade data from 1995 is reviewed to make such a determination, whereas this proposal would update that requirement to more accurately characterize current production as within the last three calendar years and move the deadline for annual waiver decisions from July 1 to October 15 to allow for the review of full-year trade data in deciding.

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