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Join Our Fight Against Trade Cheats

Doug Kurkul

I am writing this month’s column from The Hotel Washington, home base for the 2023 American Foundry Society Government Affairs Fly-In. Foundry and supplier representatives are visiting 90 House and Senate offices to advocate for public policies conducive to a strong metalcasting sector of the economy.

One of our top legislative priorities—and we invite you join us in this endeavor—is “The Fighting Trade Cheats Act,” which is H.R. 2667 in the House and S. 805 in the Senate. This bipartisan bill has four key provisions:

Increasing penalties for bad actors engaging in Customs fraud and gross negligence.

Providing a new five-year ban on importing any products from all known violators.

Improving enforcement regarding Customs fraud.

Perhaps most important, allowing private companies to sue foreign producers that have been injured by Customs fraud.

The Customs & Border Protection agency’s existing tools have proven inadequate, as the agency can only pursue Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) investigations against the importer of record, not its affiliates or successors. Foreign bad actors simply establish shell companies to evade the requirements of current U.S. laws. 

In addition to this vital bill, AFS is also fighting back against the Federal Highway Administration’s use of a 1983 general applicability waiver of manufactured products (which includes nonferrous castings) under its Buy America waiver authorities. AFS has gone on record with the agency in opposition to this practice, and members raised the issues up and down Capitol Hill this week. 
Finally, AFS supports H.R. 3882, the “Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0.” This bipartisan measure combats country-hopping to evade U.S. trade remedies; allows the U.S. government to apply countervailing duty laws in more instances; and imposes deadlines for preliminary and final trade-violation determinations. In addition to AFS and other business groups, several labor unions support this measure.

How can you join AFS in the battle against trade cheats in a high-impact way? Here are three key steps:

1) Activate or maintain a Corporate Membership in AFS. Not only will your investment fund our aggressive government-relations program, but you will receive timely communications on these priorities that are shared only with Corporate Member company representatives.

2) Contact Stephanie Salmon in our Washington office to discuss how best to leverage your influence on these issues. She can be reached at ssalmon@afsinc.org and will bring you current on your legislators’ current positions on these issues.

3) Finally, invite your legislators to visit your foundry or plant, and take the opportunity to explain first-hand how trade cheats, illegal subsidies, intellectual property theft and currency manipulation are negatively affecting your business and your employees. 

Increasingly, lawmakers from both parties understand that our nation must vigilantly crack down on trade cheats. Your involvement in AFS’s assertive efforts will help us get these vital bills over the finish line, for the good of our industry.