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Ohio senators urge for crack down on duty evasion

Ohio senators urge for crack down on duty evasion
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A pair of Ohio senators are urging the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to crack down on foreign companies that skirt import duties.

Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war MORE (D) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCommittee chairman aims for House vote on opioid bills by Memorial Day Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (R) sent a letter on Tuesday to Kevin McAleenan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs, urging him to fully implement laws aimed at improving the collection of antidumping and countervailing duties and stopping evaders. 

The senators argue that a wide range of U.S. industries are hurt by the combination of under-collection and evasion of those duties.

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The senators urged McAleenan to rework an interim rule published in August, which they said comes up short on what is needed to make the duty evasion process more transparent and timely.

"We urge you to issue a revised rule that addresses the concerns outlined above to ensure all U.S. workers and companies who are affected by unfair trade practices get the relief they deserve," they wrote to McAleenan.

Duty evasion occurs when goods entering the United States aren’t covered by antidumping or countervailing duty cases.

The Ohio lawmakers praised an executive order signed by President Trump in March meant to step up the collection of antidumping and countervailing duties. 

"We are pleased that the administration agrees with these priorities and is placing an emphasis on duty collection," the senators wrote to McAleenan.

"However, duty evasion must also be a top priority to ensure U.S. manufacturers get needed relief from unfair trade practices,” they wrote.

The letter comes two days ahead of McAleenan's nomination hearing for the CBP job before the Senate Finance Committee, of which Brown and Portman are members, on Thursday.