Bill aims to protect U.S. industries from damaging trade practices

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) championed H.R. 1907, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, on Thursday.

Introduced through the House Ways and Means Committee, the legislation includes language authored by Boustany from the PROTECT Act of 2014, which aimed to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection increased cooperation and accountability tools to protect industries such as seafood and agriculture from damaging trade practices.

“The U.S. Treasury has lost billions of dollars in uncollected duties on unfairly traded imports because of a wide variety of circumvention schemes,” Boustany said. “This harms important job creators like the seafood and agriculture industries…The PROTECT Act will increase communication between agencies within the federal government and provide them with new, necessary tools to combat the evasion of import duties.”

During markup of H.R. 1907, Boustany also presented an amendment to enforce payback of interest from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to the crawfish-processing industry. The amendment was adopted and will be included for consideration before the full House of Representatives.

John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, acknowledged that his industry must accept the challenge of competition, but said that it “cannot mean that shrimpers have to accept and adjust to fraudulent trade. Rep. Boustany’s PROTECT legislation gives the federal government, legitimate importers and distributors, and trade-affected domestic industries real tools to meaningfully prevent and combat fraud. This legislation is vital to our industry’s future.”