Text: S.1801 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (12/11/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1801


To amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to include in the calculation of normal value the cost of paying adequate wages and maintaining sustainable production methods, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

December 11, 2013

Mr. Merkley (for himself and Ms. Baldwin) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


A BILL

To amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to include in the calculation of normal value the cost of paying adequate wages and maintaining sustainable production methods, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act of 2013”.

SEC. 2. Findings; sense of Congress.

(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Working families in the United States and around the world have not enjoyed many of the benefits of increased global trade.

(2) While the global economy grew at an average rate of 3.3 percent per year between 1995 and 2007, annual wage growth remained at less than 3 percent.

(3) Between 1989 and 2010, hourly productivity in the United States grew more than 3 times as fast as wages, and nearly 4,000,000 manufacturing jobs disappeared in the United States between 1998 and 2013.

(4) The lowest 20 percent of wage earners in the United States have seen average hourly wages decline by 3.9 percent, and the next lowest 20 percent saw their earnings fall by 4.3 percent, while earnings for those in the top 20 percent increased by nearly 30 percent.

(5) In 2010, there were approximately 942,000,000 working poor living with their families on less than $2.00 per person per day.

(6) Global biodiversity health declined 28 percent from 1970 to 2008.

(7) The World Health Organization attributes more than 500,000 premature deaths annually to urban air pollution in Asia alone.

(8) An estimated 160,000,000 people suffer from work-related diseases, and there are an estimated 270,000,000 fatal and non-fatal work-related accidents each year.

(b) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the antidumping and countervailing duty laws of the United States under title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1671 et seq.) have provided targeted, effective relief against unfair trade practices and must be protected and enhanced; and

(2) the failure to include within antidumping duty calculations the real costs of inadequate wages, insufficient workplace safety conditions, and insufficient environmental controls—

(A) has a substantial negative effect on United States manufacturing and the United States economy; and

(B) fails to support efforts to improve conditions for working families and the environment in the United States and around the world.

SEC. 3. Purposes.

The purposes of this Act are—

(1) to ensure that goods imported into the United States fully reflect the real costs of paying an adequate living wage, upholding workplace safety standards, and maintaining basic environmental protections; and

(2) to provide a streamlined method for entities that meet those standards to satisfy the requirements of the amendments made by this Act.

SEC. 4. Adjustment of normal value to include the cost of paying adequate wages and maintaining sustainable production methods.

(a) In general.—Section 773(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1677b(a)) is amended—

(1) by redesignating paragraph (8) as paragraph (9); and

(2) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:

“(8) ADJUSTMENTS FOR COSTS OF PROVIDING ADEQUATE WAGES AND USING SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION METHODS.—

“(A) INCREASE.—Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the price described in paragraph (1)(B) shall also be increased by the difference, if any, between—

“(i) the actual cost of producing the subject merchandise; and

“(ii) the estimated cost of producing the subject merchandise if the producer paid its employees adequate wages and maintained sustainable production methods.

“(B) CREDITS FOR COMPLIANCE.—At the request of an exporter or producer, the administering authority shall reduce the amount of the increase under subparagraph (A) with respect to subject merchandise of that exporter or producer by an amount the administering authority determines reflects the extent to which the subject merchandise was produced under conditions under which all employees receive adequate wages and sustainable production methods are maintained. The amount by which the increase under subparagraph (A) to the price under paragraph (1)(B) is reduced under this subparagraph shall be referred to as a ‘credit’.

“(C) PRECERTIFICATION.—

“(i) EXPORTER- OR PRODUCER-SPECIFIC PRECERTIFICATION.—

“(I) REQUESTS.—An exporter or producer seeking to import merchandise into the United States may request the administering authority to issue a precertification that merchandise of the exporter or producer imported into the United States from a specific country is eligible for credits under subparagraph (B) before an investigation is initiated under subtitle B with respect to the merchandise.

“(II) STANDARD FOR PRECERTIFICATION.—The administering authority shall issue to an exporter or producer that requests a precertification under subclause (I) a precertification that covers all merchandise imported into the United States by the exporter or producer from a specific country if the exporter or producer demonstrates to the satisfaction of the administering authority that all such merchandise, including significant components or ingredients of the merchandise, was or will be produced under conditions under which all employees receive adequate wages and sustainable production methods are maintained.

“(III) EFFECTIVE PERIOD.—A precertification issued under this clause shall remain in effect for such period as the administrating authority determines appropriate, but not longer than 5 years.

“(ii) COUNTRY-WIDE PRECERTIFICATION.—The administering authority may issue a precertification for all merchandise imported from a country if the government of that country maintains and enforces laws requiring all producers of such merchandise in that country to pay its employees adequate wages and to maintain sustainable production methods.

“(iii) SAFE HARBOR.—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—If the administering authority has issued a precertification under clause (i) or (ii), merchandise to which the precertification applies shall not be subject to an antidumping duty solely because a petition filed under section 732(b)(1) with respect to the merchandise alleges that the merchandise was not produced under conditions under which all employees receive adequate wages and sustainable production methods are maintained.

“(II) CHALLENGING PRECERTIFICATION.—An interested party described in subparagraph (C), (D), (E), (F), or (G) of section 771(9) that files a petition under section 732(b)(1) with respect to the merchandise covered by a precertification issued under clause (i) for a producer or exporter or under clause (ii) for a country bears the burden of proving that the merchandise was not produced under conditions under which all employees receive adequate wages and sustainable production methods are maintained.

“(iv) DEMONSTRATION OF INJURY.—

“(I) PRESUMPTION.—Except as provided in subclause (II), an interested party described in subparagraph (C), (D), (E), (F), or (G) of section 771(9) that files a petition under section 732(b)(1) with respect to merchandise that relies on calculations of normal value made under this paragraph shall be presumed to demonstrate that the party is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of the merchandise.

“(II) EXCEPTIONS.—An interested party described in subparagraph (C), (D), (E), (F), or (G) of section 771(9) that files a petition under section 732(b)(1) with respect to merchandise that relies on calculations of normal value made under this paragraph shall not be presumed to demonstrate that the party is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of the merchandise if—

“(aa) the country from which the merchandise is exported is covered by a precertification issued under clause (ii); or

“(bb) the estimated cost of producing the merchandise under subparagraph (A)(ii) is equal to or greater than the cost of producing the merchandise in the country in which the interested party is located.

“(v) USE OF THIRD-PARTY STANDARDS.—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—The administering authority, the Secretary of Labor, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency may jointly establish procedures pursuant to which obtaining certification from an organization described in subclause (II) may demonstrate the eligibility of an exporter or producer for a precertification under clause (i) or the eligibility of a country for a precertification under clause (ii).

“(II) ORGANIZATION DESCRIBED.—An organization described in this subclause is an independent third-party organization that sets standards with respect to adequate wages and sustainable production methods.

“(D) GUIDANCE ON COMPLIANCE.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act of 2013, the administering authority shall publish in the Federal Register guidance with respect to how persons producing merchandise for exportation to the United States or seeking to import such merchandise into the United States may obtain credits and precertifications under subparagraphs (B) and (C).

“(E) DEFINITIONS.—In this paragraph:

“(i) ADEQUATE WAGE.—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘adequate wage’—

“(aa) means compensation for a regular work week that is sufficient to meet the basic needs of the employee and to provide the employee with some discretionary income; and

“(bb) includes—

“(AA) at a minimum, the payment of the higher of the minimum wage or the appropriate prevailing wage, compliance with all legal requirements relating to wages (including freedom of association relating to the bargaining relating to wages and related matters), and the provision of such benefits as are required by law or contract; and

“(BB) such other elements as the administering authority considers appropriate.

“(II) GUIDANCE ON INTERPRETATION.—

“(aa) IN GENERAL.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act of 2013, the administering authority shall publish in the Federal Register guidance, developed jointly with the Secretary of Labor, with respect to the interpretation of ‘adequate wage’.

“(bb) USE OF THIRD-PARTY STANDARDS.—In developing guidance under item (aa), the administering authority and the Secretary may consider independent third-party standards, including, as appropriate, standards on an industry-by-industry or country-by-country basis.

“(ii) SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION METHODS.—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘sustainable production methods’ means the application of technologies and methods that are necessary to provide for—

“(aa) workplace safety, toxic waste control, and the conservation of energy and natural resources, based on local standards and conditions; and

“(bb) such other relevant standards as the administering authority considers appropriate.

“(II) GUIDANCE ON INTERPRETATION.—

“(aa) IN GENERAL.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of the Level the Playing Field in Global Trade Act of 2013, the administering authority shall publish in the Federal Register guidance, developed jointly with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of Labor, with respect to the interpretation of ‘sustainable production methods’.

“(bb) USE OF THIRD-PARTY STANDARDS.—In developing guidance under item (aa), the administering authority and the Administrator may consider independent third-party standards, including, as appropriate, standards on an industry-by-industry or country-by-country basis.”.

(b) Effective date.—The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to merchandise imported into the United States—

(1) on and after the date that is 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act from—

(A) any country with which the United States has a free trade agreement in effect;

(B) any country that is a member of the World Trade Organization; or

(C) Canada or Mexico, pursuant to article 1902 of the North American Free Trade Agreement and section 408 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 3438); and

(2) on or after the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act from any country other than a country described in paragraph (1).