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Chemical Industry Council of California

SOCMA* Endorses the Trade Law Enforcement Act

Posted 11/02/11



Non-tariff barriers by foreign governments are on the rise and new legislation has been introduced to help the federal government more effectively respond. Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH-3) recently introduced H.R. 3112, the "Trade Law Enforcement Act of 2011," in order to formalize the process by which the USTR acts on market access barriers that are unlawful under any U.S. trade agreement.  This bill elevates a process already in place for companies to report the unfair practices they are experiencing for investigation. Formalizing the process allows companies to understand the resources that exist within the government, which often they do not know exist. In a time when businesses are looking more at new opportunities to export abroad to growing markets, having a resource such as this to ensure that companies can take full advantage of opportunities and agreements we have in place is extremely important.


Under current law, the United States Trade Representative (USTR)  has the ability to retaliate against a wide variety of unfair trade practices, including market access problems caused by non-tariff barriers. However, while U.S. manufacturers can petition the USTR to take action, they seldom do so, due, in part, to the cost of compiling an adequate petition and the uncertainty of getting timely relief.


The recently-introduced "Trade Law Enforcement Act of 2011" provisions:


         Uses a market access complaint process that the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA) already has in place as a starting point for possible action under Section 301.


         ITA will have 180 days to resolve interested party complaints that a foreign country is engaging in an act, policy or practice that acts as a non-tariff barrier; if ITA is unable to resolve the issue, the bill mandates that the Secretary of Commerce issue an opinion as to whether the reported non-tariff barriers meets the criteria for mandatory USTR action under Section 301.


         If Commerce issues an affirmative opinion, the bill mandates that USTR initiate a Section 301 investigation. Further, the bill clarifies that subsections of the law giving USTR discretion not to start an investigation are not applicable and gives interested parties the opportunity to request a hearing.


SOCMA has endorsed Congressman Turner's bill and has encouraged other members of Congress to show their support by cosponsoring the Trade Law Enforcement Act of 2011.  Click here to encourage your U.S. House Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3112, the "Trade Law Enforcement Act of 2011."


For more information contact Johanna Morsberger at 202.721.4186 or e-mail morsbergerj@socma.com  


* * * * *

* SOCMA is the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates

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