U. S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee's subcommittee on Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) issued the following statements after the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance passed the ENFORCE Act, S. 1133 -- legislation written by Wyden and Snowe and supported by Senators from both sides of the aisle -- to improve the nation's ability to combat foreign trade cheaters evading U.S. trade laws.
"When we talk about duty evasion what we are really talking about is merchandise laundering," Wyden said. "Foreign exporters of goods coming into this country have been using unscrupulous practices to avoid U.S. trade laws, undercutting U.S. manufacturers and costing the nation jobs. The ENFORCE Act enables U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to better combat these trade cheats, but most importantly, it provides the CBP with the discipline it currently lacks to counteract the disastrous effects of duty evasion."
"The bipartisan ENFORCE Act is essential to helping America's manufacturers compete on a level playing field with their foreign competitors," said Senator Snowe. "All too frequently, domestic manufacturers are undermined by foreign competitors who intentionally sell imports at less than normal value or are unfairly benefiting from government subsidies. Our workers pay the price for these illegal imports in lower wages, or even worse, in lost jobs, as was the case for Moosehead Furniture in Maine when it was forced into bankruptcy in January 2010. The ENFORCE Act gives us new enforcement tools to stop this from happening in the future."
The Enforcing Orders and Reducing Circumvention Evasion Act (ENFORCE) establishes a rapid-response timeline by which U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would be required to respond to allegations of duty evasion. During the course of its investigation, CBP would take steps to ensure that if it determines import duties are owed, that those duties will be collected. The ENFORCE Act is co-sponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Boozman (R- Ar.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) Richard Burr (R- NC), Amy Klobuchar ( D- Minn.), Jeff Sessions (R-Al.), John Rockefeller (D-WV), Tom Coburn (R- Okla.) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) .