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  February 11th, 2016 | Written by

NAM Urges Senators to Approve Trade Facilitation Measure

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  • NAM says trade bill would update U.S. customs and border policies and improve trade facilitation and enforcement.
  • NAM urges Senators to vote in support of the conference report to H.R. 644.
  • NAM is considering the conference report to H.R. 644 as a key manufacturing vote in the 114th Congress.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is urging senators to support the conference report to H.R. 644, Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.

The Senate is expected to consider the conference report this week.

A letter to senators from Aric Newhouse, NAM’s senior vice president for policy and government relations noted that “outdated customs and border policies are costing manufacturers billions of dollars a year in increased operating costs and unfair competition, while also preventing manufacturers from moving their products in and out of the United States efficiently.”

Existing customs rules have not kept pace with the growth and changes in trade or fully embraced technological advances, according to Newhouse, leading to bottlenecks at the border that impede the just-in-time manufacturing process. “Manufacturers are also harmed by the growing problem of evasion of U.S. trade remedy rules, intellectual property theft overseas, and the failure of our trading partners to fully enforce their trade agreement commitments,” Newhouse’s letter said. “Small businesses face substantial challenges in reaching new markets overseas as well.”

NAM argued that the bill being considered by the Senate will address these issues by authorizing the further automation and modernization of U.S. customs operations to eliminate red tape and reduce trade delays that affect manufacturers. “This legislation implements a strong new mechanism…to hold the U.S. government accountable for the enforcement of U.S. trade rules when evasion arises,” the letter said. “It will also create new tools to improve enforcement of intellectual property rights overseas and trade agreement commitments. The legislation also reauthorizes the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program to provide important matching funds that help small businesses advance their export opportunities overseas.”

NAM is considering the conference report to H.R. 644 as a key manufacturing vote in the 114th Congress.