December 7, 2023

Washington Wire: One Voice Lobbying for Workforce in Competition Bill



One Voice Lobbying for Workforce in Competition Bill
The One Voice advocacy team in Washington, D.C. is working with members of Congress and key committee staff to try and include workforce development language in the pending supply chain competition and semiconductor legislation. Please help this effort by sending a letter to your Senator or Representative calling on negotiators to include the JOBS Act to expand Pell Grants for short-term training and the College Transparency Act to inform borrowers about student debt and career opportunities. You can send a letter by clicking HERE.



Tariff-Rate Quotas to Replace Steel and Aluminum Tariffs in the UK
The U.S. and the United Kingdom agreed to replace the current Section 232 tariffs with a tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system similar to the ones that took effect for the European Union on January 1, 2022, and Japan on April 1, 2022. 
On March 22, 2022, the U.S. and UK announced an agreement to replace the current 25 percent tariffs on imported steel from the UK with the TRQ. Effective June 1, 2022, the new agreement will allow U.S. businesses to import 500,000 metric tons annually under the same 54 product categories used in the agreements with the EU and Japan, after which, the 25 percent tariffs will resume on the category of product shipped to the U.S. 
To qualify for duty-free treatment under the agreement, steel imports must be "melted and poured" in the UK and have a UK country of origin. Up to 37,800 metric tons of certain steel products that are melted and poured in the UK but finished in the EU, may be eligible for duty-free treatment under the quota. 
The agreement also allows for 21,600 metric tons of aluminum to enter the U.S, which includes 900 metric tons for unwrought aluminum; 11,400 metric tons for semi-finished (wrought) aluminum, other than foil; and 9,300 metric tons for foil. 



OSHA Releases Electronic Recordkeeping Rule
On March 30, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an update to the occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation. The proposal revives the rules proposed by the Obama administration requiring certain industries, including manufacturing, to electronically submit full injury and illness data.
Under current rules, which were narrowed by the Trump administration, companies with 250 or more employees as well as small employers with 20 or more employees in “designated industries”, including manufacturing, are required to annually submit OSHA Form 300A, a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses. 
The new rules would require all companies in the high-hazard designated industries with 100 or more employees to electronically submit Forms 300, 301, and 300A to OSHA while removing the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to submit Form 300A. 
Similar to as proposed during the Obama administration, OSHA states that it “intends to post the data from the proposed annual electronic submission requirement on a public website.” The agency claims that "recent advancements in technology" will allow it to easily redact data before posting by relying on automated software, not human review, to identify and remove information that reasonably identifies workers, but will include the company’s name.
OSHA would continue to require establishments with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their Form 300A annual summary to OSHA yearly.



NHTSA Issues Stricter Fuel Economy Standards
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles. The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are overall more stringent than the initial proposal released by the NHTSA last August. 
The final rule for vehicle model years 2024-2026 largely follows the prior proposal for an 8 percent increase in fuel efficiency annually for model years 2024 and 2025 but then mandates a 10 percent increase for model year 2026, rather than 8 percent. The standards will require an industry-wide fleet average of approximately 49 mpg in the 2026 model year. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized parallel vehicle emissions requirements in December. 
The Trump administration rolled back fuel economy standards in 2020 to require 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through model year 2026, down from the 5% annual raises put in place by the Obama White House. 



USTR Reinstates Hundreds of China 301 Exclusions
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has reinstated over 350 exclusions to the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods. Following a review of 549 exclusions which began last October, USTR announced on March 23, 2022, that the administration would reinstate 352 exclusions to apply retroactively from October 21, 2021, through the end of 2022. USTR "may consider further extensions as appropriate," according to the notice.
USTR categorized the review as a “targeted tariff exclusion process” and only considered granted and extended exclusions and not any previously granted exclusions that were never granted an extension, previously denied exclusion requests, or new exclusion requests. This was not a restart of the exclusion process but the finalization of those pending requests from October 8, 2021.