A LOT Happening on Trade in DC Today
First, we are hearing that President Trump will make an announcement at 12:30pm today on the 301 process.
Generalized System of Preferences:
Second, Congressional leaders have finally come to an agreement on a FY19 Omnibus Appropriations bill that includes a three-year renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. The agreement extents GSP retroactively back to January 1, 2018, which is when the program expired.
The omnibus also included a change to GSP rules that currently restricts imports of a particular product to certain dollar and percentage amounts called "competitive need limitations.” With the change, USTR will be able to grant a CNL waiver under certain conditions, such as U.S. national security interests, low total imports, or no domestic production during the previous three years. Currently, a waiver on the grounds of no domestic production can only be granted if there was no production on Jan. 1, 1995.
Miscellaneous Tariff Bill:
The Omnibus DID NOT include the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). Recall that the House has taken up and passed the MTB; because the MTB was excluded from the omnibus, the the Senate must still act separately. The timing on that is unknown, but we will continue talking with people and keep you updated.
Note that the last MTB expired in 2012, and efforts to renew the measure got tangled up in the House Republican ban on earmarks. That prompted Congress to pass legislation that changed the process by which tariff codes would be included in the legislation.