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Legislative Update: China, Haiti, CBP, Buy American, Classification, Exports – Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, PA

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China. The Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act (S. 5190, introduced Dec. 6 by Sen. Romney, R-Utah) would prevent the granting of “developing nation” status to China in future treaties and international organizations and direct the State Department to pursue changing the status of China to “developed nation” in treaties or organizations where a mechanism for change exists. Romney noted that “developing nation” status can lead to special privileges and flexibilities that provide longer timelines for implementation of objectives or even financial assistance.
The Critical Mineral Independence Act (S. 5195, introduced Dec. 7 by Sen. Romney, R-Utah) would decrease the Defense Department’s reliance on critical minerals (e.g., copper, lithium, and cobalt) from China by (1) directing the expansion of mining and processing in the U.S. and allied countries to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence for the DoD by 2027, (2) requiring the director of the Defense Logistics Agency to develop and implement a strategy to expedite critical mineral mining and processing, and (3) authorizing the use of $1 billion in the National Defense Authorization Act to execute the procurement strategy.
Haiti. H.R. 9461 (introduced Dec. 7 by Rep. Wenstrup, R-Ohio) would extend the HOPE (Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement) and HELP (Haiti Economic Lift Program) trade preferences, which are currently scheduled to expire in 2025, for 10 years. “Not only will this legislation support Haiti,” Wenstrup said, “the HOPE-HELP preferences are important for the U.S. economy and will continue the work Congress is doing to near-shore our supply chains and diversify away from unreliable trading partners like China.”
CBP. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs amended and reported Dec. 5 the Non-Intrusive Inspection Expansion Act (S. 4572), which would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to use NII systems to scan at least 40 percent of passenger vehicles and 90 percent of commercial vehicles entering the U.S. at land ports of entry by the end of fiscal year 2024.
H.R. 9473 (introduced Dec. 8 by Rep. Guest, R-Miss.) would require CBP to update its manuals at least every three years to identify ways to help prevent drug and human smuggling activity through ports of entry.
Buy American. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs amended and reported Dec. 5 the BuyAmerican.gov Act (S. 732), which would direct the General Services Administration to establish a central, publicly-available website to collect and display information about each requested waiver to Buy American laws. This website would allow manufacturers and other interested parties to identify contract opportunities and hold federal agencies accountable for abusing Buy American waivers. It would also give manufacturers the chance to challenge pending waivers sought by federal agencies.
Classification. S. 5187 (introduced Dec. 5 by Sen. Cassidy, R-La.) would amend the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. to provide a uniform eight-digit subheading number for all whiskies.
Exports. S. 5221 (introduced Dec. 8 by Sen. Shaheen, D-N.H.) would (1) reauthorize the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program for four years, (2) allow businesses operating for less than one year to participate in this program, and (3) improve implementation of the program by creating a standardized application process, increasing spending flexibility for grant recipients, improving communication between SBA and states, collecting performance metrics, and reporting to Congress.
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