February 17, 2023
Senate Finance holds trade hearing
The Senate Finance Committee's February 16 hearing, "Ending Trade that Cheats American Workers by Modernizing Trade Laws and Enforcement, Fighting Forced Labor, Eliminating Counterfeits, and Leveling the Playing Field," focused on how US manufacturers can/should keep parts that are manufactured under forced labor out of their supply chains, the benefits of the de minimis rule for duty- and tax-free importation of certain goods, and various ideas for customs modernization.
Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) discussed his December announcement of an investigation into possible auto industry reliance on supply chains tainted by forced labor. "I asked eight major automakers about their supply chains, and how they're cleaning them up," he said. "This is a flagship American industry that employs more than 90,000 Americans and contributes over $700 billion annually to the U.S. economy." Chairman Wyden further said that since the 2016 Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA), the last package of trade enforcement tools, Customs and Border Protection has faced additional challenges related to COVID-19, Fentanyl, counterfeit goods, and IP theft.
Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) said with the last comprehensive update to customs laws 30 years ago, "A smart reform, now, will not only allow us to seize new opportunities, but also to confront the rise of opportunists … The drafters of the last modernization could not possibly foresee the technological tools available to us today, or the sheer number of small businesses that now take advantage of international trade, or the benefit to consumers from widespread access to ecommerce … Modernization is imperative to counter both existing threats trying to make their way into this country, and those on the horizon." He described drugs and counterfeit goods entering the US and said contraband must be seized earlier.
Additional information is available in the attached Tax Alert.
Senate Finance trade hearing