Customs Bill Passes Senate, Promises Stronger Enforcement of Trade Laws

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The U.S. Senate today, by a vote of 75-20, passed the conference report for the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, known commonly as the customs bill. The measure includes the ENFORCE Act, which is critical to several metals producing industries — as well as others — to ensure that anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders against unfairly traded imports are being fully and vigorously enforced at the border.

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“By approving the customs bill today a majority of U.S. Senators voted to ensure strong enforcement of our trade remedy laws,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). “This is an important piece of legislation that gives U.S. manufacturing industries and their workers new tools to fight back against unfair trade.  Steel imports are decimating the American steel industry and it is imperative that we have the strongest tools and resources to fight back.”

The bill is expected to be signed by President Obama who has previously said he supports it.

The measure includes an overhaul of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, as well as new protections for intellectual property and more tools for the government to crack down on currency manipulation.

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Jay Timmons, the president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said, separately, ahead of Thursday’s vote that “if senators want to grow manufacturing in the U.S., then they should pass this bill immediately.”

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