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Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Revising Tariff Classifications.

May 25, 1962

IN SIGNING into law H.R. 10607, I am taking the first step toward the modernization of the U.S. tariff classification system since the Tariff Act of 1930, which was enacted by Congress well before our present concepts of world trade had been established, and even before many of the modern materials which play so important a part in free world commerce had been developed.

The new law, while it will change hundreds of items in our tariff classifications, was designed to have no general effect, of either increasing or decreasing the level of U.S. tariffs.

Congress passed H.R. 10607 instead to establish tariff schedules that would be logical in arrangement and terminology, up-to-date in terms of the major present categories of commerce, and without the inconsistencies and anomalies that have crept into classification in the past thirty or more years.

The law embodies over six years of effort by the United States Tariff Commission, undertaken in response to the mandate from Congress under Title I of the Customs Simplification Act of 1954.

The new tariff schedules will simplify the determination and application of rates of duty. This will benefit not only the importer, and the user of imported goods, but the domestic producer as well, who will have more certain and dependable knowledge of the tariff applying to the types of products he sells or the materials he buys. Finally, it will benefit the United States and other countries of the free world from whom we buy by providing sound and detailed statistics of an accuracy that we have heretofore been unable to achieve.

The new act makes it possible for the United States to respect its trade-agreement obligations by negotiating with other countries over the conversion of their present concessions to the language of the new schedules. The new schedules will not go into effect until the necessary steps in this direction have been taken.

In view of my previous statements concerning the critical importance of strengthening free world ties through greater trade, and my proposals for new trade legislation, it should be obvious that today's act, which puts in our hands the technical instruments needed to more effectively administer U.S. tariffs, is a signal accomplishment on the path to our national and international objectives.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 10607 is Public Law 87456 (76 Stat. 72).

John F. Kennedy, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Revising Tariff Classifications. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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