Last week, U.S. Congressman Billy Long fought for American workers and businesses by submitting a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that targets foreign companies who illegally evade payments when their products enter the United States. The bill, called The ENFORCE Act, would prevent these businesses from circumventing international trade laws through blatant duty evasion.
"We need to make sure foreign companies follow American laws if they want to compete in American markets," said Long. "At a time when our economy is struggling, the last thing we need is for jobs to be lost to foreign competitors who cheat the American worker."
Right now, some of America's trading partners flaunt U.S. trade laws in order to illegally import products into the country. These importers will do everything to deceive U.S. border agents including lying about their imports and shipping hidden goods through third parties. Often these importers are caught, however, without a timely process for prosecution some criminals escape punishment, costing the United States millions and devastating domestic manufacturers.
The ENFORCE Act, or the Enforcing Order and Reducing Customs Evasion Act, would help fix this problem by speeding up the investigation process through shorter enforcement timelines and requiring larger bond postings from evasion suspects. The ENFORCE Act will also create a framework to investigate foreign goods that are purposely misidentified to evade anti-dumping or countervailing duties. In addition, domestic companies would be able to petition the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to investigate suspected illegal practices and deploy resources to ports where evasion is most common.
"I am a firm believer in free trade," said Long. "However, good trade relations cannot exist when foreign companies are willing to break our laws. American companies that play by the rules should not be penalized because of fraud from their foreign competitors."
The ENFORCE Act, along with companion legislation in the Senate, enjoys broad bipartisan support.
Congressman Long has been an outspoken proponent of free trade in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has called on President Obama to send Congress the Panama, Columbia, and South Korea free trade agreements.