If passed, the Enforcing Orders and Reducing Circumvention and Evasion (ENFORCE) Act of 2010 will strengthen attempts to stop foreign suppliers of steel-wire garment hangers and other products evading special duties by shipping products to the USA via a third country.

Existing laws allow USA producers to ask the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission to investigate imports that are unfairly priced dumped) or unfairly subsidized and are injuring USA industries.

The ENFORCE Act put forward by Senators Ron Wyden and Olympia Snowe this month seeks to give new powers to both Commerce and Customs to enforce trade laws and encourage closer co-operation and information-sharing to combat illegal practices.

In February this year, a coalition of USA manufacturers presented “compelling evidence” that certain Chinese manufacturers of steel wire products, including garment hangers, were evading anti-dumping duties via third countries.

The US Coalition for Enforcement of Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duty Orders, which includes wire hanger producer M&B Metal Products of Leeds, Alabama, said that this deliberate evasion of anti-dumping orders is costing the US Treasury at least $84million annually.

The coalition also claimed that transshipment of wire hangers – primarily from Taiwan but also via Vietnam, Korea, Hong Kong, Canada and Mexico – has resulted in the evasion of more than $12million in duties and the loss of 220 domestic jobs.