As the current administration leans on newly enacted trade tariffs as leverage against key U.S. trade partners, a new bill aims to restrict those powers. Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate last Wednesday, the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 (BCTAA) is designed to “amend the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose limitations on the authority of the president to adjust imports that are determined to threaten to impair national security, and for other purposes.”

When imposing aluminum and steel tariffs on countries from around the world, President Trump cited Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, including when he tacked billions of dollars of tariffs onto Chinese goods last year. Proposed changes to the act include defining national security as “the protection of the United States from foreign aggression” and not “the protection of the general welfare of the United States.” If enacted, the president would be required to submit a proposal to Congress and members of Congress would have a 60-day period to review the proposal before approving trade actions such as tariffs and quotas under Section 232.

If the bill is passed into law, in addition to applying to all future actions under Section 232, the bill also works retroactively, undoing actions taken within the last four years.

In the event that the U.S. and China are unable to strike a deal on trade by the March 1, 2019 deadline established by the current administration at the end of last year, tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products could be raised to 25 percent from the current 10-percent rate that was imposed on September 24, 2018.

Door and window related materials on the list of products subject to the tariffs include:

  • Various float glass products;
  • Glass mirrors;
  • Glass frit;
  • Laminated safety glass;
  • Glass in the mass of fused quartz or other fused silica; and
  • Enamels, glazing, pigments, colors and lusters for the glass industries.

Base metal door closers suitable for buildings, base metal automatic door closers and base metal parts are also affected. Base metal, other than iron, steel, aluminum or zinc, mountings and fittings suitable for buildings are also included in the tariffs.

 

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