This week congressional trade leaders introduced The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 (AMCA), a bill to reform and reinvigorate the stalled Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process. MTBs are legislative vehicles through which Congress temporarily suspends import duties on certain qualified products typically used as inputs in U.S. manufacturing operations. Soon followed the self-congratulatory triumphalism.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said: “This bipartisan bill will empower American manufacturers to compete around the world, create new jobs at home, and grow our economy.”
Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) added: “The MTB is a critical tool that supports American manufacturers and workers, and I’m pleased that we’re finally moving forward with this legislation.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) boasted: “With this legislation, we offer a smart bicameral and bipartisan approach for MTBs — one that improves transparency and allows domestic firms to receive appropriate tariff relief on products that can only be found abroad so that those firms can produce American-made goods here at home.”
Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) moralized: “We need to do everything we can to make U.S. manufacturers more competitive — that includes passing a miscellaneous tariff bill that reduces costs of components we don’t make here in the U.S.”
Let’s unpack this.