Washington — Manufacturing groups in Washington, including the American Chemistry Council, are applauding passage of legislation that eliminates tariffs on some intermediate goods used in production processes, including in plastics manufacturing.
President Donald Trump signed the so-called Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Sept. 13, cutting duties on 1,660 products that are used in other manufacturing processes and are generally unavailable in the United States.
ACC called it a "big deal" because 51 percent of the products are related to chemicals and 9 percent to plastics. The law gives exemptions through 2020.
"By signing MTB into law, the president has affirmed his support for U.S. chemicals manufacturers who rely on select foreign inputs to retain our position as the world's leading, low-cost producer of chemicals," ACC said. "We hope the success of the MTB will help the president see that a zero-tariff policy that helps create new markets for producers and brings innovative products of chemistry to new regions is the best course for U.S. trade policy."
The Plastics Industry Association, ACC and a variety of companies had signed a Sept. 4 letter to Congress from 150 manufacturing groups and companies urging passage of MTB.
Plastics additive maker Milliken & Co., for example, said in materials distributed by MTB advocates that the legislation would benefit its polypropylene clarifiers business.
"Because the raw materials needed are not produced in the United States, we have relied on the MTB to reduce our overall costs and improve our global competitiveness," Spartanburg, S.C.-based Milliken said. "Thanks to past MTBs, weíve been able to add jobs in South Carolina and grow our chemical business."
The Sept. 4 letter said there was an open process with public hearings to determine the 1,660 products that received tariff exemptions, and it noted that 800 other products were rejected from the list.
The letter said that to get an exemption, the product either has to not be produced in the U.S. or not have sufficient capacity in U.S. production, and it noted that federal agencies and members of Congress could object to specific products being on the list. The tariffs eliminated by the legislation bring in about $1 million a day in government revenue.