Legislative Update: New Leaders, New Committees, New Members – Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, PA

by admin on January 16, 2023

For more information on pursuing trade policy interests through the legislative process, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

New leaders. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) has been selected to serve as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In outlining the committee’s upcoming agenda Smith listed the following trade-related issues.

– tax benefits for “corporations that have shed their American identity in favor of a relationship with China”

– using trade policy and the tax code to reshore and strengthen U.S. supply chains, “where products and services vital to our national security are made here at home using American labor,” and to craft policies that help the U.S. achieve food and medical security rather than “dependence on nations like China”

– punishing “unfair trade practices that benefit China at the expense of the American workforce and job creators”

New committees. The House agreed Jan. 10 to establish the new Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said his intent is for this committee to “speak with one voice on the challenges that we have with China,” from bringing jobs back to the U.S. to securing intellectual property to Chinese purchases of U.S. farmland. The committee will be non-partisan, be comprised of “serious lawmakers,” and “create the plan that will take us where we really need to go,” McCarthy added A CQ article noted that the committee “won’t have legislative jurisdiction but would have authority to conduct wide-ranging investigations and submit policy recommendations.”

H.Con.Res. 6 (introduced Jan. 9 by Rep. Griffith, R-Va.) would establish the Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Trade Responsibilities to develop a plan under which the functions and responsibilities of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative would be moved to the legislative branch.

New members. The following ten Republicans are being added to the Ways and Means Committee: Mike Carey (Ohio), Randy Feenstra (Iowa), Michelle Fischbach (Minn.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.), Blake Moore (Utah), Michelle Steel (Calif.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Claudia Tenney (N.Y.), and Beth Van Duyne (Texas).

Latin America. Sen. Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Salazar (R-Fla.) announced Jan. 11 a discussion draft of the Americas Trade and Investment Act, which Cassidy said would strengthen U.S. trade relations with Latin America to help the region better compete with China. Key provisions include the following.

– create a new “Americas Partnership” with nations across the western hemisphere that would commit partners to join the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, reduce Chinese influence in the hemisphere, develop uniform regulations, etc.

– create new senior positions in USTR and the departments of Commerce and State to oversee this partnership

– commit partnership participants to using a new e-governance system designed to combat corruption that includes distributed ledger technology and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s authorized economic operator blockchain pilot program

– create a new account within the Treasury Department, and provide $5 billion in tax incentives, to encourage the reshoring of U.S. industries and strategic supply chains and other priorities

– expand the Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Agreement to include partnership countries as a temporary step until they join the USMCA

– require the DOC to submit a hemispheric strategy for strategic supply chains and provide for the creation of related strategic economic zones

– provide funding from “tariffs from de minimis reciprocity” that are transferred to the reshoring account

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