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Capitol Hill Buzzing about China

The many challenges associated with China weigh heavily on the minds of legislators in Washington. The list of grievances is long: abuses of human rights, failure to address climate change, handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting the Winter Olympics, labor concerns, defense posturing in the South China Sea, strengthening defensive ties with Russia, stealing intellectual property, forced technology transfers, missed Phase One trade deal targets, and Section 301 tariffs.

To address the Section 301 tariff concerns, the U.S. Senate passed legislation (the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act) last year. Among other things, the bill specifically directs the United Stated Trade Representative to create a new tariff exclusion process.

Last week, the U.S. House passed its own version (The America COMPETES Act). This version did not include the exclusion language despite having overwhelming bipartisan support. However, the House version included language to revoke the “di minimis” duty-waiver provision for low-value shipments from China, as well the entire text of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.

The differences in the two versions are vast and need to be worked out. The White House is hopeful that a compromise can reach President Joe Biden’s desk by March 1, the date of his first State of the Union address.

ALA continues to work with Americans for Free Trade on the Section 301 issues and other trade associations on supply chain issues in hopes that all relevant sections make it into the final compromise bill.

Read a recent letter by a group of bipartisan senators urging for the renewal of the Section 301 exclusion process.

Read the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking published by the Federal Maritime Commission concerning demurrage and detention billings.

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