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While most containers enter the United States free of any duty, provided they enter the stream of international commerce, H.R. 7660 would eliminate tariff barriers for those entering domestic service. This legislation comes at a time when domestic containerization is receiving serious attention. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration has completed a study of domestic containerization pursuant to Public Law 95–708 which implemented the International Convention for Safe Containers. That law states, in part:
"(c) The Secretary (of Transportation) shall, to the maximum possible extent, encourage the development and use of intermodal transport, using containers constructed to facilitate economic, safe, and expeditious handling of containerized cargo without intermediate reloading while such cargo is in transport over land, air, and sea areas.”
These efforts have culminated in a Container Technology Study: which assessed the technological and operational containers on the development of a multimodal domestic Freight Container System. Although the thrust of that study was toward the development of alternatives to the international container, the genesis of such a new vehicle is highly speculative. It is reasonable to assume that any near term development of domestic containerization will focus on the existing international type unit.
If this occurs an increasingly large domestic market would become open to Foreign competition without benefit of tariff protection for the domestic builder.
CURRENT CONTAINER STATISTICS 1980 statistics for container shipments, container chassis shipments (skeletal trailer to carry containers), and dollies and converter gear reflect increases in container related equipment sales, while container production itself declined.
Total 1979 container shipments as a part of truck trailer shipments is included as an appendix to this statement.
CONCLUSION TTMA opposes the unilateral elimination of the tariff barriers on international shipping containers imported into the United States For Domestic ownership and use. TTMA believes there is no compelling reason for the passage of H.R. 7660 and that its passage can only encourage foreign competition to an already hard-pressed domestic industry.
TTMA is ready to provide any further assistance and information regarding this legislation, so vital to our industry.
* Container Technology Study, B. A. Bodenheimer, Bodenheimer & Co., Stanford, Conn., pursuant to DOT-TSC-1761.
To amend the Tariff Schedules of the United States to increase the quantity of
cigarettes that may be accorded duty-free treatment if acquired in insular possessions and entered by returning U.S. residents
UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION H.R. 7709, if enacted, would amend subpart A of part 2 of schedule 8 of the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) to increase the amount of cigarettes, and remove all restrictions on the amount of cigars, which a returning U.S. resident arriving from American Samoa, or the Virgin Islands of the United States can import free of duty from such U.S. insular possessions. Currently, under the provisions of items 813.30 and 813.31, a returning U.S. resident from any foreign country may import free of duty, as part of his personal duty exemption provided for therein, only 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars. This legislation would amend TSUS item 813.31 to increase to 1,000 the number of cigarettes that could be imported duty-free by returning U.S. residents (no more than 200 of which shall have been acquired elsewhere than in such insular possession). The legislation, perhaps inadvertently, would also remove the limitation on the number of cigars which could be imported duty-free under TSUS item 813.31.
The current limitations of 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars would continue to apply to residents returning from all other countries (item 813.30).
TARIFF TREATMENT Any cigars or cigarettes which are imported in excess of the established quantitative limitations provided for in items 813.30 and 813.31 are dutiable under provisions of part 13 of schedule 7 as follows:
1 The rates of duty in rate of duty column numbered 1 are Most-Favored-Nation (MFN) rates, and are applicable to imported products from all countries except thosé Communist countries and areas enumerated in general headnote 3 (f). However
, such" rates would not apply to products of developing countries which are granted preferential tariff treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) or under the "LDDC” duty rate column.
2 The rates of duty in rate of duty column "LDDC" are preferential rates (reflecting the full U.S. MTN concession rate for a particular item without staging) and are applicable to products of the least developed developing countries designated in general headnote 3(d) which are not granted dutyfree treatment under the GSP. If no rate of duty is provided in the "CDDC" column for a particular item, the rate of duty provided in column numbered 1 applies.
3 The rates of duty in rate of duty column numbered 2 apply to imported products from those Communist countries and areas enumerated in general headnote 3(1).
* The column 1 duty rate for item 170.66 will be reduced to “57¢ per lb. + 3% ad val.”, effective July 1, 1981, as a result of tariff concessions made at the recently concluded multilateral trade negotiations.
1 Items 813.30 and 813.31, the full text of which is attached to this memorandum, establishes a personal exemption from duty for articles purchased abroad by returning U.S. residents. Item 813.30 allows a returning resident an exemption from the payment of duty for articles, accompanying such person, not over $300 in aggregate retail value, in the country of acquisition and item 815.31 allows articles up to $600 in aggregate retail value (whether or not accompanying such persons) to be imported by returning residents from American Somoa, Guam, or the Virgin Islands of the United States.
2 In accordance with headnote 1 or part 2 of schedule 8, such cigarettes and cigars are also exempt from the payment of any Internal Revenue tax imposed upon or by reason of importa
None of these items have been designated as eligible for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
TRADE DATA AND REVENUE ESTIMATE Official statistics are not compiled with respect to the volume of articles imported under items 813.30 and 813.31 and the Commission has no basis to estimate such trade. The Commission is therefore unable to estimate the potential revenue loss which would be likely to result from this legislation.
TECHNICAL COMMENTS As previously indicated, the effect of this legislation would be to remove the quantitative restriction on the importation of cigars under item 813.31. If this is not intended, it can be corrected by inserting the phrase "and not more than 100 cigars” immediately after the term “possessions," on line 17 of page 2 of the bill.
Further, it has been the usual practice of the Committee to provide in legislation such as this, a section which provides for the effective date for the amendments provided for therein. In order to provide sufficient lead time for the U.S. Customs Service and adequate advance notice to the public, the Committee may wish to consider an effective date provision such as the following: “The amendments provided for herein shall apply with respect to persons arriving in the United States on or after the 30th day after the date of the enactment of this Act.”
DEPARTMENT OF STATE The Secretary has asked me to reply to your request for the views of the Department of State on H.R. 7709, a bill increasing the quantity of cigarettes that may be accorded duty free entry if acquired in the insular possessions and entered by returning United States residents.
Under special provisions of the Tariff Schedules of the United States (Items 813.30 and 813.31 relating to personal exemptions) returning United States residents are entitled to claim duty free entry for dutiable foreign merchandise not over $300 aggregate fair market value in the country of acquisition ($600 in the case of residents arriving directly or indirectly from American Samoa, Guam or the Virgin Islands of the United States (ASGVIUS)]. In making a claim for the $300 exemption (or $600 in the case of ASGVIUS), the returning resident may include up to 200 cigarettes in the merchandise presented for entry into the United States. The $300 exemption (or $600 in the case of ASGVIUS) is subject to the condition that the returning resident has been outside the territorial limits of the United States for a period of not less than two days and has not claimed a similar exemption within thirty days preceding that person's arrival.
Under the proposed legislation, the quantity of cigarettes returning United States citizens arriving directly or indirectly from ASGVIUS could include, in making a claim for the $600 exemption, would be increased from 200 cigarettes to 1000 cigarettes. In the case of such residents arriving from other countries, the quantity they could include, in making a claim for the $300 exemption, would remain unchanged at 200 cigarettes.
We consider measures undertaken in conjunction with domestic programs concerned with the economic expansion and diversification of the industrial development of the insular possessions of the United States of primary interest to the other executive agencies and accordingly defer to their views.
The Office of Management and Budget advises that, from the standpoint of the Administration's program, there is no objection to the submission of this report.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Your Committee has requested the views of this Department on H.R. 7709, a bill "To amend the Tariff Schedules of the United States to increase the quantity of cigarettes that may be accorded duty-free treatment if acquired in the insular possessions and entered by returning United States residents.
We strongly recommend that the bill be enacted.
H.R. 7709 would amend item 813.31 of the Tariff Schedules of the United States to allow persons to enter five cartons of cigarettes into the United States from American Samoa, Guam, or the Virgin Islands rather than the single carton that is permitted at present.
Until late 1978, residents returning to the United States from American Samoa, Guam, or the Virgin Islands, or visitors from those territories, were allowed to enter an unlimited number of cigarettes. On October 3, 1978, the Congress enacted the
Customs Procedural Reform Act, which contained a provision aimed at curbing cigarette sales abuse on the Canadian side of the United States/Canadian border. Although we do not believe it was intended, the cigarette importation limitation was worded in such a way that it also applied to importation of cigarettes from the United States territories.
The economies of the United States territories are heavily dependent upon the tourist trade. Recent lowering of trade barriers worldwide has had an adverse impact on the “duty-free” status accorded the territories. Restriction of duty-free cigarette imports from the territories has also hurt the territories' “duty-free” status.
Raising the duty-free cigarette limit to 5 cartons (which is not as generous as the unlimited cigarette imports allowed before 1978) would provide the territories with a psychological commercial advantage over their foreign neighbors in attracting tourist dollars. Since the territories are between 1,000 and 5,000 miles away from the continental United States, returning United States residents, or visitors from the territories, would not find economic
benefit in traveling to or from a territory merely to purchase 5 cartons of cigarettes. It is, therefore, unlikely that the pre1978 cigarette trade abuse that occurred on the Canadian border would occur with regard to the territories.
The Office of Management and Budget has advised that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the Administration's program.