October 20, 1998
The Administration has no objection to House passage of the Miscellaneous
Tariff and Technical Amendments Act. The Administration supports several
provisions in H.R. 4856 including provisions on silk markings, normal trade
relations with Mongolia, Customs merchandise processing fees, and extension
of the U.S. insular possession program which responds to an Administrative
initiative. These provisions are consistent with Administration policy.
During congressional consideration of miscellaneous tariff bills, the Administration expressed no objection to most of the provisions included in H.R. 4856. These provisions will reduce or eliminate the tariffs on imported goods purchased by American consumers -- goods for which there is no American production.
The Administration, however, generally opposes provisions that would retroactively apply a duty suspension, unless the provision is a simple extension of a previously enacted duty change. H.R. 4856 includes several such provisions, relating to 13" televisions, water-resistant wool trousers, and orange juice. In addition, the Administration has previously expressed its opposition to the following provisions: duty-free sales enterprises; duty on certain importations of mueslix cereals; and expansion of Foreign Trade Zone No. 143.
H.R. 4856 would affect receipts; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. OMB is still developing its PAYGO estimates for this bill. The Administration understands that the bill contains a revenue offset that is intended to ensure that the bill does not result in net budget costs.