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Donnelly, Ernst, Portman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure RV Industry has Access to Duty-Free Trade Program

October 31, 2017
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My Approved PortraitsU.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), co-chairs of the Senate RV Caucus, along with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure the American recreational vehicle industry, as it continues to expand and create jobs in American communities, has access to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) duty-free trade program. The bill would more accurately characterize current domestic economic production by requiring a review of trade data from the last three calendar years, as opposed to antiquated data from 1995, as currently required.

Donnelly said, “This bipartisan proposal would make a common sense change to ensure the federal government uses current data, as originally intended, in determining participation in a duty-free trade program. The Indiana RV industry and other manufacturers could potentially benefit, allowing for greater economic growth in northern Indiana. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senators Ernst and Portman to support the thousands of Hoosier workers in the RV industry and the local businesses that help provide opportunities for Hoosier families.”

Ernst said, “At present, manufacturers could see an increase in tariffs on certain imports that are important not only to Iowa, but our country. This bipartisan bill offers a straightforward approach to modernize outdated trade policy, offering relief from tariffs for our manufacturers.”

Portman said, “This bill makes a common sense change to the GSP statute. Decisions about GSP-eligibility should be based on actual market considerations, rather than conditions that existed in 1995. That’s ancient history. By merely changing the date in the statute, this simple bill makes a key update to help American businesses – such as iconic motorhome manufacturer and Ohio company, Airstream – better source products not found in the United States.”

The proposal would modernize a waiver process that allows the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to provide duty-free treatment to certain items as long as current domestic production of the item is taken into account. Under current law, antiquated trade data from 1995 is reviewed to make such a determination, whereas this proposal would update that requirement to more accurately characterize current production as within the last three calendar years and also move the deadline for annual waiver decisions from July 1 to October 15 to allow for the review of full-year trade data in making a determination.

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