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Congress Considers Border Tax Proposal

Stephanie Salmon

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-California) introduced legislation this summer that would impose a border carbon adjustment fee on certain carbon-intensive imported goods from China and other countries, beginning in 2024. It seeks to level the playing field between U.S. manufacturers that face environmental regulations at home and foreign competitors with less rigorous standards.

Specifically, the bill, the FAIR Transition and Competition Act, targets the following energy-intensive products: steel, aluminum, and cement, as well as natural gas, petroleum, and coal. It also directs the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to determine what carbon costs producers face under current climate-relevant regulations annually, which would be used to calculate an implicit carbon price to impose on imports.

The fee would be calculated based on the domestic costs of abating greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the production of covered goods, and the GHG emissions associated with the production of imports of these goods. It would not apply to imports from certain low-income countries and countries with GHG emission reduction programs that are at least as ambitious as those in the United States and that do not impose carbon border adjustments on U.S. exports.

In August, the Senate and House passed the $3.5 trillion budget plan along party lines, which could pave the way to enact a carbon border tax with implications for trade relations and domestic sourcing. While the budget resolution does not directly address the border tax, an accompanying memorandum notes the fee as a potential offset for the broad economic package. The committees of jurisdiction have until mid-September to draft the text for the reconciliation bill. AFS will continue to be engaged on the carbon border tax as the tax writing committees flesh out the details over the next month.     


EEOC Filing Deadline Extended for EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection for 2019 and 2020 

Due to the continuing impact of the pandemic on businesses, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on Aug. 18 that the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection filing deadline has been pushed to Monday, Oct. 25. The deadline was previously extended from July 19 to Aug. 23. 

The EEOC indicated the new deadline of Oct. 25 is final, and all eligible filers must submit data by this date. The EEO-1 Component 1 report is a mandatory annual data collection that requires all private sector employers, including foundries, with 100 or more employees, and federal contractors with 50 or more employees meeting certain criteria, to submit demographic workforce data, including data by race/ethnicity, sex and job categories. 

More information on EEO-1 Component 1 data and other EEO data collections can be found on the EEOC website.     

Executive Order Setting New Goal for Electric Vehicle Sales 

On August 5, President Biden signed an Executive Order setting a new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles. The Executive Order also initiates development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards. In conjunction with this Order, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will soon announce how they plan to counter regulatory action on efficiency and emissions standards developed by the previous administration.    
OSHA Updates COVID-19 Mask, 

Vaccination Guidance 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its COVID-19 guidance aimed at further mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The guidance, which now recommends that all employees wear masks in the workplace, even if they’re vaccinated, tracks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) July 27, 2021 announcement.
The guidance applies to all workplaces, including manufacturing facilities, not covered by OSHA’s healthcare services Emergency Temporary Standard. An employer that fails to comply with the updated guidance may face a citation alleging a violation of the general duty clause for failing to keep the workplace free from recognized, serious health and safety hazards.  

Metalcasters should compare their programs and policies against OSHA’s updated guidance, as well as other applicable federal, state, and local guidance and mandates, and assess whether any updates need to be made to their programs and policies.    

For additional information, contact Stephanie Salmon, AFS Washington Office, 202-452-7135, ssalmon@afsinc.org.