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house Bill H.R. 1295

Should the U.S. Continue to Offer Duty-Free Imports From African Countries and Haiti?

Argument in favor

Eliminating tariffs on some imported goods from Africa, Haiti, and other less developed countries will promote economic growth and stability overseas, while saving American consumers and businesses money at home.

Keventle's Opinion
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06/19/2015
Lowers trade costs and barriers, while increasing 3rd world economies. This will help get those people out of poverty and make trading more appealing. Any argument claiming civil rights abuse is a reason not to trade with them is only making it worse by keeping the barriers. They have child labour etc. because it's a bad economy and business don't want to supply jobs because of the barriers. Lowering restrictions lowers civil liberties abuse.
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Cary's Opinion
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04/17/2015
The process is currently too complicated and long. The annual filing insures compliance, so make it easy to get started.
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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06/20/2015
Whenever and wherever free trade is an option, it should be the consensus. Free trade will only benefit all nations involved overall by allowing both sides to produce the goods and services by which they possess a comparative advantage. In totality, free trade increases the average standard of living of involved nations by maximizing the competitive landscape.
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Argument opposed

While the U.S. generally isn’t competing for textile exports, this will make the imported goods cheaper to buy in the U.S. -- which could have a negative impact on domestic jobs.

Rod's Opinion
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04/15/2015
Fix the foolish NFL tax exempt status first, THEN let's talk about sensible adjustments. Come on Congress. WHO is getting paid off to ignore this obvious fraud (political donations). What is your plan of action to fix this NOW?
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Kelly's Opinion
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06/12/2015
There are too many human rights issues being violated by African countries. No tax free or duty free until they fix those issues
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Christian's Opinion
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04/15/2015
Tax exemption is a privilege, not a right. Let the due process take its course
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What is House Bill H.R. 1295?

Originally, this bill was all about the IRS, proposing to make it easier for organizations to register as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) entities with the IRS. Passed through committee, and by voice vote in the House, this bill was taken by the Senate and re-purposed (i.e. totally gutted) as the "legislative vehicle" for something completely unrelated. Through a series of amendments, the Senate changes this bill to be about reducing barriers to trade with Africa, Haiti, and other "less-developed" countries by inserting the text of S. 1267 (a related bill to H.R. 1819) into this bill (H.R. 1295).

Okay, now with it's new identity, this bill would extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years through 2025. The Act is currently set to expire on September 30, 2015. 

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program would be renewed through December 31, 2017 and retroactive relief would be given to eligible products imported while the GSP was defunct when it expired on July 31, 2013The GSP program allows the U.S. to import products duty-free from 126 designated beneficiary countries and territories that are considered ‘third-country’ or least developed.

The Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE and HELP) would also be extended until September 30, 2025. These programs enable Haiti to export a variety of products, including certain apparel products, into the U.S. duty-free. This supports Haiti’s apparel industry, which is a primary source of employment in that country.

AGOA allows fabrics, textiles, and apparel produced in ‘third-country’ nations in sub-Saharan Africa to be imported duty-free — which basically means the U.S. won’t apply a tariff on the product, raising costs for purchasers.

African countries that would export to the U.S. through AGOA benefit from a broader definition of AGOA-eligible products — AGOA countries could combine inputs to meet satisfy AGOA’s rule of origin.

A President or their Administration under this bill has to give Congress at least 60 days notice before removing a country from the AGOA program, or withdrawing, suspending, or limiting any benefits. The Administration would be granted greater flexibility in withdrawing, suspending, or limiting AGOA benefits if it believes that would be more effective than terminating them altogether.

Oversight and transparency concerns would be addressed by creating additional Congressional notification and reporting requirements. Mechanisms for public input would be established, and at any time any party could petition the U.S. Trade Representative about whether a country is meeting the AGOA eligibility criteria.

Impact

Consumers that purchase imported goods, U.S. businesses that would import from countries covered by this bill, Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative, the President and their Administration.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1295

$81.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would reduce spending by $5.9 billion and reduce revenues by about $5.8 billion over the 2015-2025 period — decreasing deficits over the 11-year period by approximately $81 million. The reporting requirements included in this legislation would cost about $1 million over the 2015-2025 period.

More Information

In-Depth: According to the Senate Finance Committee’s summary of this legislation — renewing the GSP would eliminate $2 million per day in tariffs on imported goods, which supports about 80,000 jobs in the U.S. It further states that about 30,000 jobs in Haiti would be supported by the extension of the HOPE and HELP programs.

Sponsoring Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said of his bill that “It will encourage our friends in Africa and Haiti to pursue free enterprise and solidify the rule of law. This legislation demonstrates that more trade can create opportunity at home and promote our economic values abroad.”

The Brookings Institution was generally supportive of this legislation, but points out that: “The vast majority of the 41 African countries that participate in AGOA… need significantly more time for the legislation to achieve its intended results. When Congress does vote to renew AGOA, it needs to ensure that the legislation will be in place for the next 15 years.”

AGOA’s organizational states that since its enactment in 2000, AGOA has generated about 100,000 jobs in the U.S., in addition to 350,000 direct jobs and another 1,000,000 indirect jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2012, the there were $34.9 billion in exports to the U.S. through AGOA.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user World Bank Photo Collection)

AKA

Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015

Official Title

An act to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Generalized System of Preferences, the preferential duty treatment program for Haiti, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedJune 29th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed May 14th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 97 Yea / 1 Nay
  • The house Passed June 25th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 286 Yea / 138 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedMarch 4th, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Fix the foolish NFL tax exempt status first, THEN let's talk about sensible adjustments. Come on Congress. WHO is getting paid off to ignore this obvious fraud (political donations). What is your plan of action to fix this NOW?
    Like (8)
    Follow
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    There are too many human rights issues being violated by African countries. No tax free or duty free until they fix those issues
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    The process is currently too complicated and long. The annual filing insures compliance, so make it easy to get started.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Lowers trade costs and barriers, while increasing 3rd world economies. This will help get those people out of poverty and make trading more appealing. Any argument claiming civil rights abuse is a reason not to trade with them is only making it worse by keeping the barriers. They have child labour etc. because it's a bad economy and business don't want to supply jobs because of the barriers. Lowering restrictions lowers civil liberties abuse.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Whenever and wherever free trade is an option, it should be the consensus. Free trade will only benefit all nations involved overall by allowing both sides to produce the goods and services by which they possess a comparative advantage. In totality, free trade increases the average standard of living of involved nations by maximizing the competitive landscape.
    Like (4)
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    Tax exemption is a privilege, not a right. Let the due process take its course
    Like (3)
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    This is already a much abused system. It does not need to be easier. It needs more accountability.
    Like (2)
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    The IRS needs reform but not by cutting corners.
    Like (2)
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    Not enough information on the positive and negative impacts of this legislation.
    Like (2)
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    AGOA has, by most measures, been an overwhelming success. It has helped us grow our influence in Sub-Saharan Africa while simultaneously combatting abusive governments and providing positive economic development.
    Like (2)
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    Tariffs are a blight on the economies of both the countries involved. Lower tariffs benefit the majority of the economy, despite losses in one particular industry. Let importers and exporters alike be free to do business as they please.
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    This bill will lower the prices on these imported good and generally they don't affect American jobs
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    The government takes too much time "vetting" organizations as charities. What this usually amounts to is bias against conservative organizations. I don't trust the government, therefore giving them all the time in the world to find a reason to reject organizations that they don't like makes no sense to me.
    Like (2)
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    When will you put Americans first?
    Like (1)
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    Look at the trade deficit
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    We pay foreign aid and citizens get nothing at all for it. The same amount treated as a foregone revenue opportunity would also help our customers.
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    Because the IRS is corrupt and should be dissolved
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    This should be done not to support development of those countries (that is not the responsibility of our government or consumers), but to benefit consumers. This will hopefully benefit the development of those countries as a bonus. If consumers feel strongly about helping Haiti, they can buy Haitian stuff. Everyone benefits from more free trade.
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    Yes trade is one of the best ways to aid undeveloped nations far better than direct subsidies
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    Only if that process is easier than the current system requires.
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