House Ways and Means trade subcommittee Ranking Democrat Earl Blumenauer introduced a comprehensive legislative package to increase US competitiveness and support workers by reauthorizing the expired Generalized System of Preferences, Trade Adjustment Assistance and the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill.
The legislation includes updates to all three and would retroactively renew GSP through 2026. It also would add new criteria in areas like labor, rule of law, human rights and environment that countries must meet to receive duty-free access to the US market.
Following is a summary of the legislation:
Authorization of the TAA for Worker program expired on June 30, 2022. Despite Ways and Means Democrats’ efforts, the programs still have not been reauthorized. The title included in this bill reflects the TAA funding and improvements that Ways & Means passed in September 2021 and again in February 2022, which includes significantly higher funding levels, expanded eligibility and long-overdue provisions that improve and modernize the TAA programs.
This title reauthorizes GSP through 2026 with retroactivity. It also modernizes the program’s eligibility criteria by adding a new environmental criterion and updating the labor criteria to align with those sought by House Democrats in the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and other trade agreements. It strengthens and increases the labor standards eligible countries must meet to ensure basic labor rights are respected and that discrimination, violence against workers and gender-based violence and harassment are addressed.
The legislation also adds new criteria on human rights, rule of law, equal protection under the law, and anti-corruption, which are identical to the requirements in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The bill also makes several process improvements to the program concerning transparency and public access. Finally, the legislation requires a study on rules of origin, women’s economic empowerment, and GSP utilization rates to help the least developed countries receive more of the benefits.
This title eliminates or reduces duties on certain imports based on recommendations from the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in accordance with the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (AMCA). The bill authorizes duty suspensions and reductions for specific imports through December 31, 2024, retroactive four months before enactment. The bill reauthorizes the AMCA for two more MTB cycles and excludes finished products from future MTBs authorized by the AMCA. The legislation also makes administrative improvements to the AMCA process, such as granting the USITC sufficient time to assess the effects of the MTB on the US economy.