On July 26, 2018, the Senate unanimously passed the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018 (MTB), a bill that would cut or eliminate tariffs on articles such as chemicals, footwear, toasters, and roughly 1,660 other items made outside the United States. Roughly half of those items are produced in China. The bill was passed without debate. The last MTB passed by Congress expired on December 31, 2012.
President Trump had announced a series of punitive tariffs on Chinese imports and China has retaliated with its own duties on imports from the United States. The White House has not yet announced a position on the MTB bill, which has now passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously. There are minor differences that need to be resolved before the legislation can be sent to the President to sign into law.
Associations have been urging Congress to pass MTB in order to eliminate what they claim are unfair, out-of-date and/or anticompetitive taxes. It is estimated that the 2018 MTB Act would eliminate import tariffs of more than $1.1 billion over the next three years and boost U.S. manufacturing output by more than $3.1 billion. Supporters of the bill have stated that it would boost the economy by getting rid of tariffs set up to protect industries that no longer exist in the United States.