Good for bike business: Congress passes miscellaneous tariff bill

April 27, 2016

Katy Hartnett, director of government relations


Image: Roy Luck

Mountain bikes aren’t the only MTBs that matter to the bike industry. The other is miscellaneous tariff bills, and there’s good news on that front. After many years of waiting, in May Congress passed bipartisan legislation, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act (AMCA), to update the process for considering these bills.

The reason that MTBs matter to the bike industry is that they reduce costs and allow U.S. companies to compete in the global marketplace. The last MTBs expired in 2012 and since then the bicycle industry has paid more to import products into the U.S.

Through the passage of MTBs, Congress temporarily suspends or reduces the duties on certain imported goods. The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act establishes a new process for considering MTBs.

Here’s how it works: The U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission) solicits petitions made by U.S. businesses for suspensions or reductions in duties. The Commission evaluates these petitions and submits a report to Congress outlining the products that meet the standard to be included in a MTB. From this report, Congress will draft a MTB. The bill would ultimately reduce taxes on the importation of goods which have no domestic equivalent.

The next step for the AMCA is for the President to sign the legislation into law. PeopleForBikes and the bicycle industry applaud Congress for passing the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act.

Update: The U.S. International Trade Commission has now released guidelines that specify how companies can apply for tariff relief beginning October 15. When reviewing these petitions and making its recommendations to Congress, the Commission will be guided by the following criteria:

  • Whether the annual loss of revenue to the U.S. Treasury as a result of the tariff relief is $500,000 or less.
  • Whether the item for which relief is being sought is produced domestically, and whether any domestic producers of the item object to the suspension of the tariff.
  • Whether the U.S. Customs and Border Control agency can administer the tariff relief.

Historically, several bicycle-related products have received tariff relief, including speedometers, wheel rims, cranksets, and brakes. However, other products may meet the above criteria, and we need guidance from the industry to identify these items. In the coming weeks, PeopleForBikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association will reach out to industry members to generate a list of prospective products to vet for inclusion in a petition. 

If you would like to know more about this new process for requesting tariff relief, or participate as we identify eligible products, please contact Alex Logemann.

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