(This measure has not been amended since the Conference Report was filed in the House on December 9, 2015. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015
TITLE I--TRADE FACILITATION AND TRADE ENFORCEMENT
(Sec. 101) This bill directs the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure that CBP partnership programs, such as the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, provide trade benefits to importers, exporters, and certain other private sector entities that meet program requirements.
(Sec. 102) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) shall report to Congress on the effectiveness of CBP enforcement of U.S. customs and trade laws (trade enforcement).
(Sec. 103) CBP shall establish priorities and performance standards to measure levels of achievement of customs modernization, the movement of merchandise into and out of the United States (trade facilitation), and trade enforcement functions and programs.
(Sec. 104) The CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shall:
(Sec. 106) This bill amends the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) to authorize appropriations for FY2016-FY2018 from the Customs Commercial and Homeland Security Automation Account to complete the development and implementation of the Automated Commercial Environment computer system.
The CBP shall report to Congress on:
The CBP must update the report as well as:
The GAO must report to Congress on:
(Sec. 107) This bill amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to require the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) to work with the head of each agency participating in the ITDS and the Interagency Steering Committee to ensure that, among other duties, it:
(Sec. 108) It shall be a U.S. negotiating objective in any negotiation for a mutual recognition arrangement or similar agreement with a foreign country on partnership programs to seek to ensure the compatibility of that country's partnership programs with CBP partnership programs to enhance security, trade facilitation, and trade enforcement.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall consult with specified congressional committees within 30 days before initiating negotiations and within 30 days before entering into an agreement.
(Sec. 109) Treasury and DHS shall jointly establish a Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.
(Sec. 110) CBP shall develop and implement CBP-wide Centers of Excellence and Expertise to enhance the economic competitiveness of the United States.
(Sec. 111) The National Targeting Center (established in the CBP Office of Field Operations under section 802 of this Act), in coordination with the CBP Office of Trade (established under that same section), shall conduct commercial risk assessment targeting and, when appropriate, issue Trade Alerts with respect to cargo destined for the United States.
(Sec. 112) The Treasury Inspector General shall report biennially to Congress on oversight of revenue protection and enforcement measures.
(Sec. 113) DHS and Treasury shall report jointly to Congress on security and revenue measures with respect to merchandise transported in bond.
(Sec. 114) DHS shall establish a program to assign importer of record numbers.
(Sec. 115) CBP shall establish an importer program that adjusts bond amounts for new importers and nonresident importers based on their assessed risk for the protection of federal revenue.
(Sec. 116) The Tariff Act of 1930 is amended to direct Treasury to prescribe minimum standards to identify information that importers (including nonresident importers) are required to submit to customs brokers as well as reasonable procedures for such brokers to collect and verify the authenticity of such information.
The CBP shall report to Congress recommendations for:
(Sec. 117) The CBP shall establish specified priority trade issues and, when necessary, eliminate, consolidate, or modify them and establish new priority trade issues.
The priority trade issues shall be:
TITLE II--IMPORT HEALTH AND SAFETY
(Sec. 201) The bill establishes an interagency Import Safety Working Group.
(Sec. 202) DHS shall develop, and appropriately update, a joint import safety rapid response plan that sets forth protocols for the CBP to:
(Sec. 203) CBP shall ensure that CBP personnel assigned to U.S. ports of entry are effectively trained to ensure the safety and expeditious entry of merchandise into the United States.
TITLE III--IMPORT-RELATED PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
(Sec. 302) The Tariff Act of 1930 is amended to declare that, upon suspicion that merchandise is being imported into the United States in violation of U.S. trademark or copyright infringement laws, the CBP shall provide the trademark or copyright owner any information appearing on the merchandise and its packaging and labels, including any unredacted images of them, if testing by the owner would assist in determining a violation. The CBP shall not provide such information if it would compromise an ongoing law enforcement investigation or national security.
(Sec. 303) A technology, product, service, device, or its component that is imported into the United States to circumvent U.S. copyright laws may be seized by the CBP and forfeited.
(Sec. 304) DHS shall authorize a process for the enforcement of a copyright of an owner who has applied for registration of merchandise with the U.S. Copyright Office to the same extent as if the copyright were registered with the Office, including by sharing information, images, samples of the suspected infringing merchandise.
(Sec. 305) DHS shall establish within ICE a National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to coordinate U.S. activities to prevent the import and export of goods that infringe intellectual property rights.
(Sec. 306) The CBP and ICE shall:
(Sec. 308) The CBP shall ensure that CBP officers are trained effectively to detect and identify merchandise destined for the United States that infringes intellectual property rights, including through use of donated hardware, software, equipment, and similar technologies.
(Sec. 309) DHS shall coordinate with competent law enforcement and customs authorities of foreign countries, particularly by information-sharing, to enhance their efforts and U.S. efforts to enforce intellectual property rights.
(Sec. 310) The CBP and ICE shall report annually to Congress on intellectual property rights enforcement.
(Sec. 311) DHS shall carry out an educational campaign to inform travelers entering or leaving the United States about the legal, economic, and public health and safety implications of acquiring merchandise that infringes intellectual property rights outside the United States and importing it into the United States in violation of U.S. law.
TITLE IV--PREVENTION OF EVASION OF ANTIDUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTY ORDERS
Enforce and Protect Act of 2015
(Sec. 403) This title applies to goods from Mexico and Canada as well as goods from elsewhere.
Subtitle A--Actions Relating to Enforcement of Trade Remedy Laws
(Sec. 411) DHS shall establish within the CBP Office of Trade (established under section 802 of this Act) a Trade Remedy Law Enforcement Division (including a National Targeting and Analysis Group) to prevent and counter evasion of AD or CV duty orders with respect to covered merchandise entered into the United States.
The Group shall establish targeted risk assessment methodologies and standards for:
(Sec. 412) Treasury, acting through the CBP, shall exercise all authorities to collect information needed to determine whether merchandise is entered into the United States through evasion.
In cases where a person who filed an allegation concerning covered merchandise, a person alleged to have entered covered merchandise into the United States through evasion, or a foreign producer or exporter of such merchandise has failed to comply with a request for information, Treasury shall make an inference adverse to the interests of that person when determining whether the merchandise has entered the United States through evasion.
(Sec. 413) Proprietary information submitted to the administering authority or the CBP may be disclosed without the submitter's consent to any CBP officer or employee directly investigating negligence, gross negligence, or fraud (currently, only fraud) relating to customs duties.
Treasury may give the Department of Commerce or the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) any information necessary to enable it to assist Treasury to identify, through risk assessment targeting or otherwise, covered merchandise entered into the U.S. customs territory through evasion.
(Sec. 414) Treasury shall negotiate and enter into bilateral agreements with customs authorities of foreign countries to prevent evasion of U.S. and foreign trade remedy laws.
(Sec. 415) The principal U.S. negotiating objectives shall include obtaining the objectives of such bilateral agreements for any trade agreements under negotiation as of the enactment of this Act or in the future.
Subtitle B--Investigation of Evasion of Trade Remedy Laws
(Sec. 421) The Tariff Act of 1930 is amended to prescribe procedures for the CBP to initiate an AD or CV duty investigation with respect to covered merchandise imported into the United States upon:
The CBP, in cases of an affirmative final determination, shall:
Subtitle C--Other Matters
(Sec. 431) The CBP shall employ sufficient personnel with expertise and adequate training in and responsibility for preventing and investigating the entry of covered merchandise into the United States through evasion.
(Sec. 432) The CBP shall report annually to Congress on its efforts to prevent and investigate the evasion of AD and CV duty orders with respect to covered merchandise entered into the U.S. customs territory.
(Sec. 433) The bill repeals the requirement that the administering authority direct the CBP to allow an importer to opt to post a bond or security in lieu of a cash deposit for each entry of merchandise exported into the United States until completion of the administering authority's review as to whether AD or CV duties shall be imposed on the merchandise.
The weighted average dumping margin or individual CV duty rate determined for a new exporter (shipper) or producer of merchandise in a review shall be based solely on the bona fide U.S. sales made by the exporter or producer during the period of review.
TITLE V--SMALL BUSINESS TRADE ISSUES AND STATE TRADE COORDINATION
Small Business Trade Enhancement Act of 2015 or State Trade Coordination Act
(Sec. 502) This bill amends the Small Business Act to require the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to convene an Interagency Working Group within 30 days after the President notifies Congress of the intention to enter into negotiations with foreign countries with respect to trade agreements for the reduction or elimination of tariff or nontariff barriers.
The SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy shall by certain deadlines after convening the Group:
(Sec. 503) The SBA's Office of International Trade shall establish the State Trade Expansion Program to make grants to states for trade expansion programs for eligible small business concerns. The Office may, in carrying out the program, make competitive grants to states to increase the number of small business concerns exploring significant new trade opportunities.
Appropriations are authorized for FY2016-FY2020.
(Sec. 504) This bill amends the Export Enhancement Act of 1988 to direct the President to establish a State and Federal Export Promotion Coordination Working Group as a subcommittee of the Trade Promotion Coordination Committee (TPCC) to develop a strategy for improving coordination of federal and state resources for small business export promotion and export financing activities.
The Office of International Trade shall report to Congress on recommendations for improving the experience of the Export.gov (or a successor) website as a comprehensive export information resource and a single website for exporters to submit all federally required information on the exportation of articles from the United States.
Commerce shall make available on the website state information on export promotion and export financing resources, including information on state export promotion and export financing agencies and district export councils and trade associations.
(Sec. 505) The membership of the TPCC shall include one or more presidential appointees representing state trade promotion agencies.
Acting through the TPCC and in coordination with representatives of state trade promotion agencies, Commerce shall develop a plan to integrate resources and strategies of state trade promotion agencies into the overall federal trade promotion program.
Acting through the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service, Commerce shall develop an annual federal-state export strategy for goods and services for each state that submits to Commerce its export strategy for the upcoming year.
In coordination with representatives of state trade promotion agencies, Commerce shall develop a framework to share export success information, and develop a coordinated set of reporting metrics.
The strategic plan for federal trade promotion efforts shall include an annual survey and analysis of the overall effectiveness of federal-state coordination and export promotion goals, as well as best practices, recommendations to better assist small businesses, and other relevant matters.
TITLE VI--ADDITIONAL ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS
(Sec. 601) This bill amends the Trade Act of 1974 to revise requirements for the identification of U.S. trade expansion priorities.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) shall consult with Congress to prioritize, investigate, and resolve acts, policies, or practices of foreign countries that raise concerns with respect to obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements or any other trade agreement to which the United States is a party, or that otherwise creates barriers to U.S. goods, services, or investment.
(Sec. 602) The USTR may take action to suspend concessions or other obligations under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act if:
(Sec. 603) The USITC shall make an import monitoring tool available on a website to allow public access to data on the volume and value of imported goods to assess whether that data has changed over time.
(Sec. 604) The bill establishes within the Office of the USTR an Interagency Center on Trade Implementation, Monitoring, and Enforcement to investigate disputes under the WTO as well as bilateral and regional trade agreements to which the United States is a party.
(Sec. 605) DHS shall deposit into a special account certain interest earned on amounts realized by CBP on AD or CV duties through payments received by CBP on or after October 1, 2014. The interest shall be included in any CBP duty distributions to affected domestic producers for qualifying expenses.
(Sec. 606) CBP shall ensure that appropriate resources address concerns that honey as well as illicit cultural property, archaeological or ethnological materials, and fish, wildlife, and plants are being imported into the United States in violation of U.S. customs laws.
(Sec. 607) The USTR may take certain discretionary trade action against foreign countries that engage in unreasonable acts, policies, or practices that fail to enforce their commitments under trade agreements with the United States, including with respect to trade in goods and services, agriculture, foreign investment, intellectual property, and the environment.
(Sec. 608) The CBP shall direct appropriate personnel and the use of its resources, including a database of the individual characteristics of honey produced in foreign countries, to address concerns that honey is being imported into the United States in violation of U.S. customs and trade laws.
The bill expresses the sense of Congress that the Food and Drug Administration should establish promptly a national standard of identity for honey for the CBP to use to ensure that imports of honey are: (1) classified accurately for purposes of assessing duties, and (2) denied entry into the United States if such imports pose a threat to the health or safety of U.S. consumers.
(Sec. 609) The Office of the USTR shall now include one presidentially appointed Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator, who shall conduct trade negotiations and enforce trade agreements with respect to U.S. intellectual property as well as take appropriate actions to address foreign acts, policies, and practices with a significant adverse impact on the value of U.S. innovation.
(Sec. 610) The USTR shall develop, within 90 days after submission of the National Trade Estimate, an action plan of certain benchmarks for achieving adequate protection of intellectual property rights, including trade secrets, for each foreign country placed and remaining on a priority watch list for at least one year.
Amounts from the Trade Enforcement Trust Fund (established under section 611 of this title) may be expended by the USTR, but only as provided by appropriations Acts, to provide assistance to any developing country on the priority watch list to comply with the benchmarks in the action plan.
(Sec. 611) The bill establishes a Trade Enforcement Trust Fund for deposit of amounts equivalent to AD and CV duty receipts, which the USTR shall use to seek to enforce obligations under the WTO Agreements and free trade agreements, monitor and ensure foreign country implementation of similar obligations, investigate and respond to complaint petitions, and support U.S. capacity-building efforts pursuant to any free trade agreement to which the United States is a party.
The GAO shall:
TITLE VII--ENGAGEMENT ON CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATE AND ECONOMIC POLICIES
(Sec. 701) Treasury shall report to Congress on the macroeconomic and currency exchange rate policies of each major U.S. trading partner.
The President, through Treasury, shall take specified remedial action against any such countries that fail to adopt policies to correct the undervaluation of their currency and trade surplus with the United States. The President may waive this requirement, however, if it would have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy or would cause serious harm to U.S. national security.
(Sec. 702) The bill establishes an Advisory Committee on International Exchange Rate Policy to advise Treasury on the impact of international exchange rates and financial policies on the U.S. economy.
Appropriations are authorized.
TITLE VIII--MATTERS RELATING TO U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION
Subtitle A--Establishment of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Authorization Act
(Sec. 802) This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish formally, in DHS, the CBP (formerly the U.S. Customs Service), headed by the Commissioner of CBP.
There is established in the CBP:
The CBP shall establish, and update triennially, certain standard operating procedures for CBP personnel.
The CBP shall report annually to Congress on whether use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) conforms to such procedures.
The CBP shall require all CBP agents and officers to participate in a specified amount of continuing education to maintain an understanding of federal legal rulings, court decisions, and departmental policies, procedures, and guidelines.
The CBP shall ensure that:
The CBP shall publish wait times for travelers entering at the 20 U.S. airports with the highest volume of international travel and make this information available to the public on the CBP website.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shall be maintained as a distinct entity within DHS.
The Office for Domestic Preparedness is removed from within the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security and establishes it simply within DHS.
The functions of the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security shall be transferred to the DHS Secretary. The DHS Secretary (currently, the Under Secretary) may impose disciplinary action on any employee of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CBP who willfully deceives Congress or agency leadership on any matter.
The bill establishes in the CBP an Office of Trade. The CBP shall transfer all functions of the Office of International Trade to the Office of Trade. The Office of International Trade shall be abolished.
The CBP shall report to Congress on:
The CBP shall assess CBP's physical infrastructure and technology needs at the 20 busiest land ports of entry.
DHS shall not enter into or renew an agreement with a foreign country government for a CBP-administered trusted traveler program unless that government certifies that it:
The DHS shall submit to Congress a plan to create an agricultural specialist career track within CBP.
The bill expresses the sense of Congress that the Foreign Language Award Program incentivizes CBP officers to attain and maintain competency in a foreign language.
Subtitle B--Preclearance Operations
Preclearance Authorization Act of 2015
(Sec. 813) Provided there is a valid aviation security preclearance agreement, DHS may establish CBP preclearance operations in a foreign country to:
(Sec. 814) At least 60 days before an agreement to establish CBP preclearance operations in a foreign country becomes valid, DHS shall provide Congress with a copy of the agreement as well as other information on CBP preclearance operations.
The establishment of preclearance operations at an airport in a foreign country under an agreement shall be conditioned on the requirements that:
The CBP shall report quarterly to Congress on:
At least 60 days after a determination that CBP processing times have significantly increased at U.S. ports of entry from which CBP officers were reassigned to preclearance operations, if the vacated positions have not been filled, the CBP shall submit to Congress an implementation plan for reducing processing times at such U.S. ports.
(Sec. 815) The TSA shall rescreen in the United States passengers and their property before they are permitted into sterile areas of U.S. airports if they have come from an airport in a foreign country that has failed to maintain security and protocols comparable to those of the United States.
(Sec. 816) DHS may not enter into an agreement with a foreign country to establish or maintain CBP preclearance operations at an airport in that country unless it certifies that the foreign government:
(Sec. 817) The CBP may enter into cost-sharing agreements with airports in foreign countries where preclearance operations have been established if:
(Sec. 818) The Immigration and Nationality Act is amended to authorize the Department of Justice to receive in advance reimbursement for the costs of immigration inspection services provided at an airport.
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 is amended similarly to authorize the Department of Agriculture to collect in advance the costs for preclearance operations with respect to animals or articles entering into the United States.
TITLE IX--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
(Sec. 901) The bill expresses the sense of Congress that the USTR should encourage other countries to establish commercially meaningful de minimis values for express and postal shipments exempt from customs duties and taxes and from certain other entry documentation requirements.
This bill amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to increase from $200 to $800 the general de minimis aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of duty-free articles imported by one person on one day.
(Sec. 902) Specified deadlines shall now apply for DHS to trade and customs revenue consultation requirements of the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006.
(Sec. 903) This bill also prescribes or revises requirements under the Tariff Act of 1930 and the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States for:
(Sec. 906) The GAO shall report to Congress on the modernization of drawback and refunds.
(Sec. 907) The CBP shall report to Congress within one year after entering into any agreement under:
(Sec. 909) The bill states certain trade policies regarding Israel, and principal U.S. trade negotiating objectives relating to Israel for proposed trade agreements with foreign countries regarding commercial partnerships.
The President shall report to Congress on politically motivated boycotts of, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel.
No federal or state court shall recognize or enforce any foreign judgment entered against a U.S. person that conducts business operations in Israel, or any Israel-controlled territory, if the court determines that the foreign judgment is based, in whole or in part, on a foreign court determination that the U.S. person's conducting business operations in Israel or any Israel-controlled territory or with Israeli entities constitutes a violation of law.
(Sec. 912) The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States is amended to prescribe the duty-free treatment of certain recreational performance outerwear as well as of certain protective active footwear. (The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 is amended to repeal similar provisions with respect to such articles.)
(Sec. 914) This bill amends the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 to revise the overall U.S. negotiating objectives for trade agreements with foreign countries for the reduction or elimination of tariff and nontariff barriers to ensure that such agreements do not require changes to U.S. immigration laws nor obligate the United States to greenhouse gas emissions measures.
A new principal U.S. trade negotiating objective shall be to obtain competitive opportunities for U.S. exports of fish, seafood, and shellfish products in foreign markets equivalent to those opportunities afforded those foreign export items in U.S. markets.
The bill revises the prohibition against applying trade authorities (fast track) procedures to congressional implementing bills for trade agreements with foreign countries that fail to make significant efforts to comply with minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking ("tier 3" country). The prohibition itself shall not apply, however, if the President submits to Congress a letter stating the country has taken concrete actions to implement the principal recommendations in the most recent annual report on trafficking in persons.
(Sec. 915) The President may give preferential treatment to certain articles imported directly from Nepal into the U.S. customs territory if that country meets certain requirements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, including a market-based economy and the rule of law, the protection of human rights and internationally-recognized worker rights, elimination of trade barriers to the United States, and non-engagement in activities that undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests or support acts of international terrorism. Nepal must also meet certain eligibility criteria for designation as a beneficiary developing country under the Trade Act of 1974.
Certain leather articles (trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers) and textile or apparel articles imported directly from Nepal may enter the U.S. customs territory duty-free if:
Limits to 15% of the appraised value of an article at the time it is entered the cost or value of the materials produced in, and the manufacturing costs performed in, the U.S. customs territory and attributed to the 35% requirement.
The CBP must verify annually that textile and apparel articles imported duty-free into the United States from Nepal are not being unlawfully transshipped into the United States.
The President shall establish a trade facilitation and capacity building program to assist Nepal in the export of goods.
The extension of preferential treatment to Nepal shall terminate after December 31, 2025.
(Sec. 916) The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 is amended to authorize the President to implement an agreement by members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to reduce any rate of duty on certain environmental goods only if Congress is notified of agreement negotiations as well as U.S. objectives in those negotiations.
(Sec. 917) The Tariff Act of 1930 is amended to require country of origin marking of certain castings, including inlet frames, tree and trench grates, lampposts, lamppost bases, cast utility poles, bollards, hydrants, and utility boxes.
(Sec. 918) When the President submits to the Senate, under the Trade Act of 1974, a nomination for appointment as a Deputy USTR, the submission shall include information on the country, regional offices, and functions of the Office of the USTR with respect to which that individual will have responsibility.
(Sec. 919) The bill expresses the sense of Congress urging specified congressional committees to advance, as soon as possible, a regular and predictable legislative process for the temporary suspension and reduction of duties on goods imported into the United States.
(Sec. 920) The COBRA is amended to extend through September 30, 2025, the authority for customs user fees for the processing of merchandise formally entered or released into the United States.
The United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act is also amended to extend through September 30, 2025, the increase from 0.21% ad valorem to 0.3464% ad valorem in the customs user fees for the processing of merchandise formally entered or released into the United States which is scheduled to begin on December 1, 2015.
(Sec. 921) The Internal Revenue Code is amended to increase from $135 to $205 the maximum civil penalty, adjusted annually for inflation, for failure to file a tax return within 60 days of the deadline, except for reasonable cause and not the willful neglect of the taxpayer.
(Sec. 922) This bill amends the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local: (1) taxation of Internet access, and (2) multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.