President Donald Trump signed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act into law on Thursday, September 13, and while trade groups are pleased with the surprise move they also warn that there are plenty of road blocks ahead.
The bill, which had bipartisan support in the House and Senate, will reduce tariffs on roughly 1,700 goods, but it is not expected to counter a new round of tariffs that Trump has imposed on Chinese goods.
The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute said, “Most importantly, it is at least three orders of magnitude too small to counteract the thousands of new and threatened tariff increases on potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods. Its tariff relief is also temporary. And it isn’t really a reduction in trade barriers — it extends a previous round of tariff exemptions that expired in 2012, so it’s more of a return to the status quo ante.”
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons said the measure is a welcome relief for his membership.
“With his signature, President Trump has freed manufacturers and other businesses from a pointless $1 million a day tax. Now that the MTB is law, manufacturers can better compete against companies in China, Europe and elsewhere. This bipartisan effort delivered a win for America’s manufacturing workers, and it empowers manufacturers to continue delivering for our people and our communities,” Timmons said.
According to Politico:
“Trump’s decision to sign the bill seems at odds with his trade actions in recent months, as he has slapped duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods and threatens to impose duties on another $200 billion or more.
“Although the MTB tariff cuts apply to all countries, the measure would suspend duties on about 150 products found on the list of $50 billion worth of Chinese imports slapped with duties. The bill also would cover roughly 1,000 Chinese products that are targeted on Trump’s list worth $200 billion, Rep. Bill Pascrell said during House debate on the measure.”