Bill targets foreign manufacturers who evade trade rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-39) helped introduce the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act last week, bipartisan legislation "intended to eliminate schemes by foreign producers to evade payment of antidumping and countervailing duties.""Our U.S. producers are being undermined by foreign competitors whose fraudulent schemes enable them to avoid paying the duties they owe," Sanchez said. "In order to keep American producers and businesses strong, and keep Americans working, this bill ensures that Customs will aggressively enforce anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders - putting those who would break our laws on notice that flouting U.S. laws will no longer be tolerated." Antidumping duties are imposed when it is established that foreign goods are being sold (or "dumped") in the U.S. at prices below the prices in the home market. Countervailing duties are imposed when foreign goods receive illegal subsidies that artificially hold down their prices. The duties are meant to even out these illegal practices so that American and foreign goods are competing on a more level playing field when it comes to prices. Those who work to evade these duties are not only skirting the law, they are harming U.S. businesses and killing jobs, Sanchez said. The ENFORCE Act establishes procedures for investigating claims of evasion by foreign manufacturers. Domestic producers, for the first time ever, will be able to petition U.S. Customs and Border Protection to investigate possible antidumping and countervailing duty evasions. Once an investigation is initiated, Customs must make a preliminary and final determination about whether an importer is engaged in duty evasion. The legislation prescribes timelines, as well as enforcement and remedial measures for each determination. "Trade cheats who illegally dump goods in the U.S. are going to extraordinary lengths to continue to avoid playing by the rules," said Rep. Walter B. Jones, who also helped author the bill. "This bill would give U.S. companies the ability to compel the U.S. government to take action to stop these practices. It is long overdue." If passed, Customs will receive $20 million to train employees and staff the ports.

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36