Weekly Legislative Update October 19, 2020

Passenger Vehicle and Light Truck Tires From the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations 

Section 733(b)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), requires Commerce to issue the preliminary determination in an LTFV investigation within 140 days of the date on which Commerce initiated the investigation.

However, section 733(c)(1) of the Act permits Commerce to postpone the preliminary determination until no later than 190 days after the date on which Commerce initiated the investigation if: (A) The petitioner makes a timely request for a postponement; or (B) Commerce concludes that the parties concerned are cooperating, that the investigation is extraordinarily complicated, and that additional time is necessary to make a preliminary determination. Under 19 CFR 351.205(e), the petitioner must submit a request for postponement 25 days or more before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination and must state the reasons for the request. Commerce will grant the request unless it finds compelling reasons to deny the request.

On October 1, 2020, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL–CIO, CLC (the petitioner) submitted a timely request that Commerce postpone the preliminary determinations in these LTFV investigations. The petitioner stated that it requests postponement due to the complexity of selecting the mandatory respondents and obtaining initial and supplemental questionnaire responses. Under the current timeline, the petitioner believes that Commerce will not have complete responses and sufficient information to issue these preliminary determinations.

For the reasons stated above, and because there are no compelling reasons to deny the request, Commerce, in accordance with section 733(c)(1)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(e), is postponing the deadline for the preliminary determinations by 50 days (i.e., 190 days after the date on which these investigations were initiated).

As a result, Commerce will issue its preliminary determinations no later than December 29, 2020. In accordance with section 735(a)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(1), the deadline for the final determinations in these investigations will continue to be 75 days after the date of the preliminary determinations, unless postponed at a later date.

DOL And DHS Release Rules Increasing Wages And Adding Restrictions To H-1B Visa Program

On October 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) amending regulations and increasing the prevailing wages for high-skilled workers with H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 nonimmigrant visas. This rule is effective immediately. The H-1B nonimmigrant visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations; the H-1B1 and E-3 nonimmigrant visa classifications are similar but apply to specific countries. DOL is amending its regulations to incorporate changes to the computation of wage levels under the Department’s four-tiered wage structure to “better reflect the actual wages earned by U.S. workers similarly employed to foreign workers.” DOL is adjusting the wage levels for these workers (Level 1-Level 4) from 17th, 34th, 50th and 67th percentiles to the 45th, 62nd, 78th and 95th percentiles. DOL expects that this IFR will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses. According to DOL, 77.1 percent of petitioners in these categories are small businesses. DOL estimates that it will take a small employer 1 hour to read this rule and estimates average wage impacts of $14,664 – $216,187 a year per small entity. DOL seeks feedback on the impact of this rule on small businesses and any regulatory alternatives that would minimize these costs. Comments on this rule are due on November 9, 2020.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending certain DHS regulations governing the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program to strengthen the integrity of the program during the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure that the employment of the H-1B workers will not have an adverse impact on the wage and conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The rule would narrow the definition of “specialty occupation,” requiring the applicant have a degree in the area they want to work in. The rule also limits business arrangements where the H-1B holder works for a third party, by limiting these visas to a one-year duration. The agency further defines related terms such as “worksite,” “third-party worksite,” “United States employer,” and clarifies how the agency will determine an “employer-employee relationship” between petitioner and beneficiary. The interim final rule is effective on December 7, 2020, and comments are due to DHS on December 7, 2020. Comments on a related information collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act are due on November 9, 2020.

·     Read the rule and submit comments to DHS:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/08/2020-22347/strengthening-the-h-1b-nonimmigrant-visa-classification-program

Vote for Right to Repair!

Right to Repair will be one of two questions before Massachusetts voters.

Remember, 86% of MA voted in favor of the Right To Repair Question in 2012, but by this year, 2020, advancements in vehicle technology and increasing restrictions by automakers will result in more than 90% of new cars being equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers, threatening the rights that we enjoy today to choose to get our car fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work ourselves.  

Without an update to this law our trusted independent repair shops will be unable to fix their loyal customers cars and thus consumers will have less choice and pay more for their car repairs. The spirit of the Right to Repair Law was to ensure a consumer’s right to get their car repaired where they choose - technology advancements should not impair that choice!

There are over 3,000+ independent repair shops and auto part stores in Massachusetts who rely on access to repair and diagnostic information to properly repair vehicles. It’s critical that this question passes at the ballot so that we can protect mostly importantly the rights of consumers, but also the 30,000 jobs in our independent repair and auto parts industry.

You may have seen ads on both sides of Question 1 as car manufacturers are using egregious scare tactics to continue to hold a monopoly on wireless repair information. Both cyber security experts and law enforcement concur that giving the owner of the car their own car repair information can be done safely and securely - This legislation and ballot initiative do NOT cover GPS or personal information!

We’re almost there! If you live in Massachusetts, come out (or mail in) and vote YES ON QUESTION 1 to protect your car repair choice this November! If you do not live in Massachusetts but have outlets in the state, let us know and we can help get information to those locations to share with their customers.

Last week, TIA discussed Right to Repair in a virtual meeting with the largest retailers in the country. Tommy Hickey, Director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition and Tony DeSimone, Executive Director New England Tire & Service Association spoke about the efforts in Massachusetts currently underway. TIA continues to educate members on this issue and we continue to fight for this important ballot measure.