>> As President Trump is putting up trade barriers with China, Congress is trying to tear them down, passing legislation that would lower tariffs on more than 800 types of Chinese made goods. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where the Senate has quietly passed a sweeping tariff reduction bill, the debate taking place entirely behind closed doors.
Acting on behalf of companies that say they shouldn't have to pay import duties on products that aren't made in the USA. This of course, coming as Trump is moving in the opposite direction, raising tariffs on Chinese made products as a trade war escalates with Beijing. Both the House and the Senate have now unanimously passed the so-called Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, which lowers import duties on more than 1,600 products, from toasters to shoes to carpets.
Aiming to help US businesses, which say they pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year on pointless tariffs that protect domestic industries that no longer exist. The bill would benefit some companies, like Hamilton Beach, that have off-shored production to China, a practice that Trump has spoken out against on the campaign trail.
Some smaller companies complain that the bill makes it harder for them to compete against cheap foreign goods, saying they're out maneuvered by powerful lobbying groups in Washington. A Reuters review finding that 145 items in the bill are actually made domestically. Michael Korchmar owns a travel goods factory in Florida.
He says he planned to start making a new type of bag and hire up to 30 workers until he learned from Reuters that Congress was poised to eliminate tariffs on that product. That item dropped from the bill after Reuters featured Korchmar's story. He says he may now move ahead with his expansion plans.
The White House hasn't taken a position on the bill. Does Trump see it as a reward for the sort of off shoring that he's railed against? Or does he see it as a helpful boost for American industry? This bill has been largely flying under the radar, but that may change.
We're in a super charged atmosphere when it comes to trade.