Congressman Bill Owens submitted legislation last week that would temporarily suspend tariffs on four specific items that are currently imported by New York manufacturers Powertex and Nova Bus. With the help of local business leaders, Owens identified items that may qualify for a larger package of tariff suspensions and reductions that will be considered by the Congress later this year.
"These tariff suspensions will make it more cost efficient for Nova Bus and Powertex to manufacture their products, expand their operations, and create jobs in the region," said Owens. "I look forward to working to get these measures included in the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill."
Since 1982, Congress has passed legislation to temporarily reduce or suspend tariffs on certain imported products and make technical corrections to U.S. tariff laws. The last Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) was signed into law in 2010 and included tariff suspensions on over 600 products that are set to expire at the end of this year. Once individual tariff bills have been introduced in the House and Senate, they will be posted for public comment and undergo a review process by the International Trade Commission, the Congressional Budget Office, and various federal agencies to determine whether they meet the requirements for inclusion in the MTB.
Congressman Owens worked with North Country-Plattsburgh Chamber of Commerce Garry Douglas on this initiative, as well as local businesses including Powertex in Rouses Point and Nova Bus in Plattsburgh.
"It can be challenging enough for North Country companies to stay competitive in the marketplace without an added cost burden on components that are part of what they are producing here," said Douglas. "We thank Congressman Owens for working with us to directly help companies like Powertex and Nova Bus so they can compete and win more business for our area. This is the sort of economic development work that isn't usually seen but can have a significant positive impact."
"With the help of Garry Douglas and Congressman Bill Owens, we were able to submit a bill to Congress to allow a temporary duty suspension related to our bulk liner bags. If this legislation passes, it will entail us to sustain jobs and to produce domestically at a more cost-effective rate. We thank them for their valuable assistance," said Karen Lamberton, Controller at Powertex, Inc.
"Nova Bus would like to thank Garry Douglas and Congressman Owens for providing us the opportunity to request tariff and duty relief. This is wonderful assistance to us and the North Country's growing transportation equipment industry. Efforts like this tie directly to our business goals of reduced cost and improved competitive advantage in our marketplace. We truly appreciate their commitment in assisting local businesses become more competitive," said Frank Ciesla, Nova Bus Logistics Manager.
The MTB is typically a non-controversial bill and is rarely met with opposition through the legislative process. It is expected to pass the House and Senate.