By Rick Kessler
While there are still more hurdles to clear, two recent actions could spell relief for those RV companies whose operations depend on the import and use of lauan wood.
The actions, one legislative and the other deep within the minutiae of the federal government, look to reinstate lauan wood as part of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a trade program that lowers tariffs on imports from nearly 120 developing countries. In 2015 the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which oversees the GSP, removed lauan wood imported from Indonesia – its primary source – from the program following what’s called a “Limited Product Review” conducted that summer as required by legislation.
… The legislative remedy is called the Competitive Needs Limitation Modernization Act (HR4608), and was introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.-2), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.-15), and Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.-1) – all co-chairs of the House RV Caucus. Essentially, it would update the CNL waiver process used by USTR in determining whether a potential GSP-eligible item is “like or directly competitive” to a domestic product. Specifically, the bill would change the test to look back at domestic production for the past three years instead of comparing it to products made on Jan. 1, 1995, as is the case under the current statute.
… The legislation is currently under review by the House Ways & Means Committee, and it’s expected to be part of an overall GSP reauthorization legislative action.
“Northern Indiana is known as the RV Capital of the World, so Hoosiers know just how vital manufacturing is to our nation’s economy,” said Walorski. “We should never let outdated laws get in the way of building American-made products. This common sense bill will make small but important fixes that allow our manufacturers to save time and money they can spend investing, growing, and hiring.”
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