Senate Approves Portman, Carper Amendment to Enhance Congressional Oversight of Tariffs on China

June 8, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC -  U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE) released the following statements after the Senate approved their amendment requiring the United States Trade Representative to brief Congress on the findings of a forthcoming Government Accountability Office (GAO) study into the Section 301 exclusion process and detail how they are adopting GAO’s recommendations to improve the process.

This comes nearly two months after Senators Portman and Carper, along with 38 other members of the Senate, sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Katherine C. Tai, asking her to restart the exclusion process for imports from China subject to tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The Trump administration set up an exclusion process to help U.S. manufacturers and businesses receive relief from the tariffs when an imported good was not available outside of China, or when the tariffs caused severe economic harm to U.S. industry. Unfortunately, those exclusions expired at the end of 2020, and the Biden administration has not restarted a process for businesses to apply for new exclusions.

“China must be held accountable for continuing to break both the letter and spirit of international trade rules. And measures such as targeted tariffs are necessary to combat China’s unfair trade practices and address the inequities in our trade relationship,” said Senator Portman. “At the same time, though, we must accommodate our domestic manufacturers and small businesses that rely on inputs that are exclusively produced in China. This amendment will help us to address the inequities in our trade relationship with China without inhibiting the competitiveness and capacity of American businesses and manufacturers.”

 “For American manufacturers and small businesses that rely on imports, having a dependable and diverse supply chain is crucial to their operations,” said Senator Carper. “Restarting targeted tariff exclusions under Section 301 can give domestic manufacturers the tariff relief they need, especially when China’s unfair and predatory trading practices make these inputs too expensive. However, we must take into account lessons learned from the exclusions process implemented by the previous administration and partner with oversight entities like the GAO to ensure the exclusions process is reformed in a way that emphasizes transparency, speed, consistency and fairness. I am proud that Sen. Portman and I were able to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see this language through to Senate passage.”