Senator Bayh Places Hold on USTR Nomination Vote
Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) has placed a hold on the Senate vote of Representative Rob Portman (R-OH), the President's nominee to be the U.S. Trade Representative, until Republican leaders schedule a vote on his bill aimed at countering subsidies in nonmarket economies. Senator Bayh has said that he does not oppose Congressman Portman's nomination to be USTR and will release the hold if a vote is scheduled on S. 593, the Stopping Overseas Subsidies (SOS) Act. A companion bill to the SOS Act, H. R. 1216, has been introduced in the House.
S. 593 and H.R. 1216 would amend Section 701(a)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1671(a)(1)) to specify that the provisions relating to countervailing duties apply to nonmarket economy countries. The bill is a legislative effort to overturn the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's 1986 decision in Georgetown Steel Corp. v. United States, 801 F.2d 1308 (Fed. Cir. 1986), which held that the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) could not apply countervailing duty laws to countries designated as a "nonmarket economy." Currently, DOC treats China, Vietnam and Ukraine as nonmarket economy countries.