Lacey Act - At a May 9th hearing by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, two bills were discussed that would change the Lacey Act:
H.R. 3210: To amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to limit the application of that Act with respect to plants and plant products that were imported before the effective date of amendments to that Act enacted in 2008.
H.R. 4171: To amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to repeal certain provisions relating to criminal penalties and violations of foreign laws, and for other purposes.
While these two bills seek to improve some of the “unintended consequences” of the Lacey Act Amendments of 2008, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) said H.R. 4171 and H.R. 3210 would "throw into question a century of environmental protections while adding additional uncertainty to an already complex issue." The "legislation before us is not the solution," he said.
Conflict Minerals - At another hearing May 10th the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade reviewed a conflict mineral provisions within the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank requires companies subject to SEC reporting whose manufactured goods contain any gold, tantalum, tin, or tungsten to report annually to the SEC on whether those minerals “did originate” from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries.
In cases where minerals did originate in those countries, SEC registrants must submit a report that includes a description of the measures they took to exercise due diligence on the source and “chain of custody” of such minerals. Such a report must include an independent private-sector audit and a description of the products manufactured or contracted to be manufactured that are not DRC-conflict free, the facilities used to process the conflict minerals, the country of origin of the conflict minerals, and the efforts to determine the mine or location of origin with the greatest possible specificity.
The National Association of Manufacturers states this could cost $9-16 Billion Cost to Importers.
Miscellaneous Trade Bill. The last of the hundreds of individual bills seeking to remove or reduce import duties on specific products will be introduced last week, and now they will undergo a vetting process by the International Trade Commission to make sure they are eligible to include in the MTB. Existing duty breaks are scheduled to expire Dec. 31, and sources speculate that Congress will take up and approve the MTB after this November’s elections.
Trade Agency Funding. The House approved May 10 a fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill for various trade agencies that the Obama administration has threatened to veto because its funding levels are too low. A companion Senate bill more in line with the White House’s budget request was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in April.
Tue, Jun 5 2012 9:00 AM