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Administrative Protective Order (APO)
An order issued in the course of a Commission countervailing duty, antidumping duty, safeguard, or section 337 investigation or related proceeding under which the Commission provides limited disclosure of certain nonpublic information to authorized representatives of interested parties to the investigation for use in making submissions to the Commission in the course of the investigation. In section 337 investigations the orders are issued by the administrative law judge; in all other investigations the orders are issued by the Secretary to the Commission. By signing the order, the authorized representative agrees to abide by the terms of the order in the use of business proprietary information (BPI) and confidential business information (CBI) obtained under the order and in the return or destruction of BPI and CBI received under the order.
For more information, please visit the Administrative Protective Order portion of this web site.
Upon request of any person, the Commission may, upon such investigation as it deems necessary, issue an advisory opinion as to whether the person's proposed course of action or conduct would violate a Commission exclusion order, cease and desist order, or consent order in the context of an investigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. The Commission will consider whether the issuance of such an advisory opinion would facilitate the enforcement of section 337, would be in the public interest, and would benefit consumers and competitive conditions in the United States, and whether the person has a compelling business need for the advice and has framed his request as fully and accurately as possible.
Andean Trade Preference Act - ATPA
These are investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Commission under the U.S. antidumping law, Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1673 et seq.). If Commerce determines that the subject goods are being sold in the United States at less than fair value (dumped) and the Commission determines that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury or that the establishment of any industry is materially retarded by reason of such sales at less than fair value, Commerce will issue an antidumping duty order and impose an antidumping duty on such imports in an amount equal to the margin of dumping. For more information about Commerce's role, see http://trade.gov/ia/index.asp. For more information about the Commission's role, see the Trade Remedy portion of this web site; for information about pending investigations, see active AD-CVD cases; for a list of completed investigations, see completed AD-CVD cases.
Assessments of the Likely Impact of a Trade Agreement
The Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) (19 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.) authorizes the President to proclaim duty-free treatment for eligible articles from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru in order to help these countries fight drug production and trafficking by expanding their economic alternatives. Section 206 of ATPA (19 U.S.C. 3204) requires the Commission to submit to Congress and the President biennial reports regarding the economic impact of the act on U.S. industries and consumers, and, in conjunction with other agencies, the effectiveness of the act in promoting drug-related crop eradication and crop substitution efforts of the beneficiary countries.
For Industry and Economic Analysis publications on the Western Hemisphere, please visit: http://www.usitc.gov/research_and_analysis/western_hemisphere.htm
The Commission makes such assessments at the request of the President under section 2104(f) of the Trade Act of 2002 (19 U.S.C. §3804(f)). Section 2104(f) requires the Commission, following receipt of a request, to assess the likely impact of a trade agreement on the U.S. economy as a whole and on specific industry sectors and to submit its report to Congress and the President. Commission investigations under this section are sometimes referred to as 90-90 investigations because the President must request a Commission report at least 90 days before entering into a trade agreement and the Commission must submit its report no later than 90 days after the President enters into the agreement.
Bilateral Safeguard Investigations under Free Trade Agreements
Business Proprietary Information - BPI
The Commission conducts country or region-specific safeguard investigations under U.S. legislation that implements U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs). The safeguard provisions in the FTAs are generally transitional provisions operative for a limited period (e.g., 10 years) after the agreement enters into force. While each agreement is different, in general, if the Commission finds, as a result of a duty reduction under the agreement, that a domestic industry is seriously injured or threatened with serious injury by increased imports, it recommends a remedy to the President; the President makes the final decision on remedy. The United States has negotiated free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico (NAFTA), Australia, Bahrain, Chile, the Dominican Republic and several Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) (DR-CAFTA-US FTA), Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Peru, and Singapore. Several of these agreements have been in force for a period longer than the transitional period.
Byrd Amendment - Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act
The term "business proprietary information" (BPI) or "confidential business information" (CBI) is defined in the Commission's regulations at 19 C.F.R. §201.6. The regulations define confidential business information as information which concerns or relates to the trade secrets, processes, operations, style of works or apparatus, or to the production, sales, shipments, purchases, transfers, identification of customers, inventories, or amount or source of any income, profits, losses, or expenditures of any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other organization, or other information of commercial value, the disclosure of which is likely to have the effect of either impairing the Commission's ability to obtain such information as is necessary to perform its statutory functions, or causing substantial harm to the competitive position of the person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other organization from which the information was obtained, unless the Commission is required by law to disclose such information.
Parties can request confidential treatment of BPI and CBI during the Commission's investigations. Certain statutes and the Commission's regulations provide for the limited disclosure of certain BPI and CBI under an administrative protective order.
Otherwise known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 ("CDSOA"), the Byrd Amendment provided for the annual distribution of antidumping and countervailing duties assessed on or after October 1, 2000 pursuant to countervailing duty and antidumping duty orders in effect on or after January 1, 1999. The distribution was available to "affected domestic producers for qualifying expenditures." Decisions regarding the awarding of funds and the firms eligible to receive funds are made by the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs). The Commission's sole responsibility was to forward to Customs within 60 days after issuance of a countervailing duty or antidumping duty order an initial list of potentially eligible "affected domestic producers" that publicly indicated support for the petition through a response to a Commission questionnaire during the investigation or by letter submitted to the Commission during that investigation.
Legislation repealing the Byrd Amendment was signed on February 8, 2006, but it permits payments to continue on duties collected on imports before October 1, 2007.
For more information, see the Byrd Amendment portion of this web site.
Cease and Desist Order
Changed Circumstances Review
This is a type of order that the Commission is authorized to issue as a remedy in an investigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) against any person violating or believed to be violating the statute. A cease and desist order directs the person to cease and desist from engaging in the unfair methods or acts involved.
China Safeguard Investigations
Such reviews are made by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Commission with respect to final affirmative determinations that resulted in a countervailing duty order or antidumping duty order or in a suspension agreement that resulted from a countervailing duty or antidumping duty investigation. Commerce and the Commission conduct such reviews under section 751(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1675(b)) on the basis of information or at the request of an interested party. The Commission's regulation regarding changed circumstances reviews can be found at 19 C.F.R. §207.45. In reviews involving a countervailing duty or antidumping duty order, the Commission must determine whether revocation of the order or finding is likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury. In reviews involving a suspension agreement, the Commission must determine whether the suspension agreement continues to eliminate completely the injurious effects of imports of the subject merchandise.
For more information, see the Commission's trade remedies handbook, which can be found at http://www.usitc.gov/trade_remedy/documents/handbook.pdf, and Commerce's antidumping manual, which can be found at http://ia.ita.doc.gov/admanual/index.html.
Confidential Business Information - CBI
These are investigations that the Commission conducts under section 421 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2451) concerning whether a product from China is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities or under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause market disruption to the domestic producers of like or directly competitive products. The Commission conducts investigations on the basis of a petition, at the request of the President or the U.S. Trade Representative, upon resolution of the House Committee on Ways and Means or Senate Committee on Finance, or on the Commission's own motion. If the Commission makes an affirmative determination, it proposes a remedy to the President and the U.S. Trade Representative. The President makes the final remedy decision.
The term "confidential business information" has the same meaning as "business proprietary information" as defined in the Commission's regulations at 19 C.F.R. §201.6. The Commission's regulations define confidential business information as information which concerns or relates to the trade secrets, processes, operations, style of works or apparatus, or to the production, sales, shipments, purchases, transfers, identification of customers, inventories, or amount or source of any income, profits, losses, or expenditures of any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other organization, or other information of commercial value, the disclosure of which is likely to have the effect of either impairing the Commission's ability to obtain such information as is necessary to perform its statutory functions, or causing substantial harm to the competitive position of the person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other organization from which the information was obtained, unless the Commission is required by law to disclose such information.
Parties can request confidential treatment of BPI and CBI during the Commission's investigations. Certain statutes and the Commission's regulations provide for the limited disclosure of certain BPI and CBI under an administrative protective order.
Under section 337(n) of the Tariff Act of 1930, disclosure can be made to USTR and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act
This is a type of order issued by the Commission in investigations under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) that results in termination of the investigation, generally after some or all of the parties have reached a settlement agreement. A proposal to terminate by consent order is submitted as a motion to the administrative law judge with a stipulation that incorporates a proposed consent order. The motion may be filed at any time prior to commencement of the hearing by one or more respondents, and may be filed jointly with other parties to the investigation. Termination by consent order need not constitute a determination as to violation of section 337.
Countervailing Duty Investigations
These investigations are conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the Commission under the U.S. countervailing duty law, Title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1671 et seq.), generally on the basis of a petition filed with Commerce and the Commission on behalf of a domestic industry. If Commerce determines that the government of a country is providing a countervailable subsidy with respect to a class or kind of imported merchandise and the Commission determines that a U.S. industry is materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of such merchandise, Commerce will issue a countervailing duty order and impose a countervailing duty on such imports in an amount equal to the subsidy.
For more information on Commerce's role, see http://www.trade.gov/ia/. For more information on the Commission's role, see the Trade Remedy portion of this web site. For pending investigations, see active AD-CVD cases; for completed investigations, see completed AD-CVD cases; and for more information about Commission procedures, see the Commission's AD-CVD Handbook.
The Commission's DataWeb is an interactive, self-service, Internet-based system that provides access to extensive tariff and trade data.
The system is updated monthly and integrates international trade transactions with complex tariff and customs treatment.
Data are available on a monthly, quarterly, annual, or year-to-date basis and can be retrieved in a number of classification systems, including the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), or the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). A "Commodity Translation Wizard" translates between these classification systems.
The Commission's DataWeb offers data on imports and exports; U.S. import duties, preferential tariff programs, and staged tariff reductions; U.S. trade global region by partner country, and detailed Commission trade database tables.
The DataWeb can be accessed at http://dataweb.usitc.gov.
Electronic Document Information System - EDIS
EDIS serves as the Commission's electronic repository for documents filed in Commission investigations. It allows parties to file documents electronically during an investigation (provided the filing party follows Commission electronic filing requirements, including those set out in the Commission's electronic filing handbook). It also allows members of the public to search on line for documents filed on EDIS, including the public version of documents submitted in the course of most Commission investigations.
To access this system, please visit this link: https://edis.usitc.gov/edis3-internal/app
These are proceedings conducted by the Commission generally at the request of a complaining party in an investigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) after the Commission has issued an exclusion order and when infringing imports continue to enter the United States or when a Commission order is violated. Enforcement proceedings may be either informal or formal. Such proceedings may lead to modification of an existing exclusion order or other action.
This is a type of order that the Commission is authorized to issue as a remedy in an investigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) when it determines that a violation of section 337 has occurred. Such orders generally bar the named product or products from entry into the United States. There are two types of exclusion orders under the statute: (1) a limited exclusion order that bars the importation of products by specific respondents determined by the Commission to be violating section 337; and (2) a general exclusion order that bars the importation of all infringing products in order to prevent circumvention of an exclusion order limited to products of named persons and when there is a pattern of violation and it is difficult to ascertain the source. The Commission's exclusion orders are enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Five-Year (Sunset) Reviews
These are reviews that the Commission and Commerce are required to undertake at five-year intervals under section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1675(c)) with respect to outstanding countervailing duty and antidumping duty orders. Section 751(c) requires that countervailing duty and antidumping duty orders be revoked, and suspended investigations be terminated, after five years unless the U.S. Department of Commerce determines that revocation or termination would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of a countervailable subsidy or dumping, and the Commission determines that revocation or termination would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of material injury to the domestic industry within a reasonably foreseeable time. If either agency makes a negative determination, Commerce must revoke the order. If both agencies make affirmative determinations, the countervailing duty or antidumping duty order remains in place.
General Factfinding Investigations
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
The Commission conducts fact finding investigations and prepares reports on matters involving tariffs and trade under section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1332), generally at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative (pursuant to authority delegated by the President), the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. Past reports have provided information on such subjects as conditions of competition between a domestic and foreign industry, and economic factors and conditions affecting trade between the United States and a foreign country. Other recent reports have provided background information to assist U.S. negotiators in trade negotiations or to assist policy makers in formulating trade policy. The public versions of recently completed section 332 reports can be found on at http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/332/completed/
Global Safeguard Investigations
The Generalized System of Preferences Program (GSP Program) is set out in title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.). It authorizes the President, subject to certain conditions and limitations, to provide duty-free treatment for eligible articles imported from beneficiary developing countries. Before designating an article as eligible for duty-free treatment, the President must obtain the advice of the Commission on the probable economic effect of such designation (19 U.S.C. 2463(a)(1)(A), 2463(e)). Similarly, the President, before waiving the competitive need limitation in the statute, must obtain the Commission's advice on whether any U.S. industry would be adversely affected (19 U.S.C. 2463(d)) by such a waiver.
These are investigations that the Commission conducts under sections 201-204 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2251-2254) to determine whether a product is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury or threat of serious injury to the domestic industry producing a like or directly competitive product. In making its determination, the Commission considers imports from all sources. If the Commission makes an affirmative determination, it recommends a remedy to the President; the President makes the final decision on remedy, including the amount and duration. The Commission conducts such investigations on the basis of a petition filed by a domestic industry, upon receipt of a request from the President or the U.S. Trade Representative, or upon receipt of a resolution from House Committee on Ways and Means or the Senate Committee on Finance. The most recent Commission reports in section 201 investigations can be viewed on the Commission's website at http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/Safeguard_201_204_421/completed/.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS)
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) sets out the tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States. The HTS is based on the international Harmonized System, which is the global system of nomenclature applied to most world trade in goods. The Commission publishes and maintains the HTS in its various forms, and periodically makes recommendations to the President regarding modifications needed to keep the HTS consistent with international nomenclature. U.S. Customs and Border Protection administers the HTS at U.S. ports of entry and also provides advice and rulings on matters relating to the classification of imports.
Industry and Trade "Summary" Reports
Intellectual Property Based Import Investigations
The Commission periodically issues in depth reports on trade in specific products. Commonly referred to as industry "summaries," the reports describe the product and its uses, identify the principal U.S. and foreign producers, indicate the current customs treatment, and provide information, including statistical data on imports and exports, relating to trade in the product and the competitive conditions affecting U.S. and foreign producers in the U.S. and foreign markets. The reports are made available to the public in electronic form.
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Whenever a person believes that changed conditions of fact or law, or the public interest, require that an exclusion order, cease and desist order, or consent order be modified or set aside, such person may file a petition with the Commission requesting such relief. The requirements of the petition and the actions to be taken by the Commission upon receipt of the petition are described in the Commission's regulations. The Commission may also consider a modification proceeding on its own initiative.
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Office of the Administrative Law Judges
Office of Economics
This Commission office includes the Commission's Chief Administrative Law Judge, additional administrative law judges, and support staff. The primary role of the Commission administrative laws judges is to conduct the trial phase of Commission investigations under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337). Upon institution of a section 337 investigation, the investigation is referred to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, who then assigns the investigation to one of the administrative law judges. The assigned administrative law judge rules on motions during the trial stage and, following the trial, makes an initial determination as to whether a violation of section 337 exists, and makes findings of fact and law and recommendations as appropriate.
Office of External Relations
This Commission office provides expert economic analysis in various types of import injury investigations conducted by the Commission, in connection with reports requested by Congress and the President under section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and other statutes such as section 2104(f) of the Trade Act of 2002 (19 U.S.C. §3804(f)), and in response to requests for technical assistance from the President, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the Congress.
See also entry on "Assessments of the Likely Impact of a Trade Agreement."
For more information, please visit the Office of Economics portion of this web site.
Office of Equal Employment Opportunity
This Commission office serves as the liaison between the Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative and other executive branch agencies, Congress, foreign governments, international organizations, the media, and the general public. The Commission's Trade Remedy Assistance Program is a component of External Relations that assists small businesses seeking benefits or relief under U.S. trade laws.
For more information, please visit the External Relations portion of this web site.
Office of the General Counsel
This Commission office advises the Commission chairman and Commission managers on equal employment issues, evaluates the sufficiency of the agency's equal employment opportunity ("EEO") program and recommends improvements or corrections, establishes and maintains a diversity outreach program, and monitors recruitment activities to assure fairness in agency hiring practices.
For more information, please visit the EEO portion of this web site.
Office of Industries
This office provides legal advice and support to the Commissioners and Commission staff on investigations and research studies; represents the Commission in court and before dispute resolution panels and administrative tribunals; provides assistance and advice on general administrative matters, including personnel, labor relations, and contract issues; and, upon request, provides technical legal assistance to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Congress.
Office of Inspector General
This Commission office provides technical expertise related to U.S. industries and the impact of international trade on those industries. The Office of Industries has five divisions: Agriculture and Fisheries, Advanced Technology and Machinery, Chemicals and Textiles, Natural Resources and Metals, and Services. The office provides support and analysis for many of the Commission's import injury investigations, and is a primary drafter of most industry-related reports prepared under section 332 of the Tariff Act of 1930. Analysts in the office also monitor developments in their assigned industry areas and perform related research activity. For more information, see the Office of Industries portion of this web site.
Office of Investigations
This Commission office conducts audits and investigations related to Commission programs and operations, and comments on proposed legislation, regulations, and procedures that affect the agency's efficiency and effectiveness. The accomplishments of the Inspector General are detailed in semiannual reports submitted to Congress in May and November of each year.
Office of Secretary
This office is the lead Commission office for gathering information and preparing reports relating to investigations the Commission conducts under the countervailing duty and antidumping duty laws, including reviews under those laws, and investigations under the safeguard and market disruption laws that the Commission administers.
Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements
This office compiles and maintains the Commission's official records, including information received in the course of investigations, minutes of Commission meetings, and Commission reports. The Secretary signs Commission notices, correspondence, and other documents as directed by the Commissioners. In consultation with the Commissioners, the Secretary schedules and provides administrative support for Commission meetings and hearings.
The Secretary also makes the initial decision in response to requests for confidential treatment of business information and also makes the initial decision in response to requests for disclosure of Commission records under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. In addition, the Secretary administers the release of confidential and proprietary business information under administrative protective orders in countervailing duty, antidumping duty, and safeguard investigations.
Office of Unfair Import Investigations
Through this office, the Commission maintains the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides the applicable tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States. This office also develops and maintains the online interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb, which provides worldwide interactive access to current and historical U.S. trade data.
In addition, upon request, the office prepares legislative analysis and other technical assistance on matters relating to tariffs and tariff nomenclature, including reports in the form of "bill reports" for the House Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Committee on Finance on various duty-reduction and duty-suspension bills. In such bill reports the Commission may identify drafting errors, suggest changes to conform product descriptions with tariff nomenclature, and estimate the revenue loss of the duty reduction or suspension.
This Commission office (OUII) participates as a full party representing the public interest in the trial phase of investigations conducted under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337). The office may conduct an initial, confidential review of the complaint in a section 337 investigation to ensure that the petitioner provides sufficient information. It also may conduct or participate in enforcement proceedings to determine whether the importation or sale of a specific product violates a remedial order issued in a section 337 investigation. The office staff consists primarily of attorneys experienced in intellectual property.
For more information on the Office of Unfair Investigations, please visit the Intellectual Property section of this web site.
For an OUII staff directory, please visit: http://www.usitc.gov/intellectual_property/contacts.htm
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In a section 337 investigation, the administrative law judge issues a recommended determination on remedy and bonding once an initial determination has been made that there is a violation of the statute.
Section 337 Investigations (Unfair Practices in Import Trade)
These investigations are conducted under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C 1337). If the Commission finds a violation of section 337 to exist, it may issue a remedial order in the form of an exclusion and/or cease and desist orders. Such orders become effective 60 days after they are issued unless disapproved by the President. Section 337 investigations are generally conducted on the basis of a complaint that alleges a violation of section 337 in the form of unfair competition in the importation of products into, or their subsequent sale in, the United States, that infringe a U.S. patent, copyright, registered trademark, or mask work. The Commission will also conduct a section 337 investigation on the basis of a complaint that alleges other unfair methods of competition and unfair acts in the importation and subsequent sale of products in the United States, the threat or effect of which is to destroy or substantially injure a domestic industry, prevent the establishment of such an industry, or restrain or monopolize trade and commerce in the United States.
Section 337 investigations require formal evidentiary hearings in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq). The hearings are held before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Parties to these investigations include complainants, respondents, and the Commission attorney representing the public interest. Following the hearing, the ALJ issues an initial determination on all issues related to violations of section 337. The Commission may review and adopt, modify, or reverse the ALJ's decision. If the Commission does not review the initial determination, it becomes the Commission's decision.
These are lists of interested parties that the Office of the Secretary prepares in investigations that facilitate the exchange of documents among the parties of record. Interested parties are expected to serve other interested parties on the list with copies of all documents filed with the Commission. In certain proceedings, the Office of the Secretary maintains two service lists: one that lists the interested parties they may receive only documents containing publicly available information, and a second list that contains the names of interested parties who may receive documents that contain business proprietary/confidential business information obtained under an administrative protective order.
Trade Remedy Assistance Office
This Commission office provides assistance to businesses seeking relief under U.S. trade laws. Its two primary functions are to respond to inquiries about various U.S. trade laws and to provide technical assistance to eligible small businesses seeking remedy under such laws.
Office staff helps small businesses analyze their trade-related problems in the context of existing laws and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of potential claims. As part of this process, office staff describe the procedures for obtaining relief, provide guidance in preparing a petition, and review draft petitions before they are filed.
For more information, please visit the Trade Remedy Assistance Office section.
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Year in Trade Reports
These are factual reports that the Commission is required to submit to the Congress, at least once a year, on the operation of the trade agreements program. The requirement for such reports is set out in section 163(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2213(c)).
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