The Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) process is administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Under the MTB process, U.S. importers may petition for duty-free or reduced-duty treatment of certain imported products by submitting an MTB petition to the ITC. The ITC has indicated that it will open its portal and begin accepting MTB petitions at 8:45am on October 11, 2019.

In general, for an MTB petition to be successful, there must not be any domestic industry opposition and any reduction of duties resulting from the change to the duty rate for the proposed product breakout may not exceed $500,000 per annum. Importers can request an elimination or reduction of duties, depending on the annual duty savings anticipated and the $500,000 threshold.

Additionally, merchandise classification is one of the more complicated, but critically important, aspects of submitting a petition for a duty suspension or reduction under the MTB petition process. The ITC’s website indicates that almost 700 (or 28 percent) of the petitions listed in the Commission’s final 2017 report were not recommended to Congress for inclusion in an MTB.  Many of these due to issues regarding classification and the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to administer the claimed provision.

Any successful MTB petition would then need to pass Congress and be signed into law by the president before becoming effective. If signed into law, then the MTB petitions may become effective January 1, 2021, with an expiration date of December 31, 2024.

The ITC’s new petition procedures appear more stringent than those applied during the 2016 round of MTB petitions. They indicate that the petitions should include (to the extent available): (1) CBP rulings issued on the product; and (2) a copy of other CBP documentation indicating where the article is classified in the HTS. Additionally, the petitions should include:

  1. an estimate of both total value and dutiable value for the product for the next five calendar years;
  2. an estimate of the share of total imports represented by the petitioner’s imports of the subject article;
  3. the names of any domestic producers of the article, if available;
  4. a certification of completeness and correctness; and
  5. an acknowledgement of the petitioner’s awareness that the information submitted is subject to ITC audit and verification.

The ITC has also indicated that there will be a clearer way to renew current MTBs. However, that information is not yet available.