April 5, 1999
News Release 99-043
Inv. No. 332-388

ITC ISSUES FIRST DRAFT
OF PROPOSED CHANGES TO HARMONIZED TARIFF SCHEDULE
FOR PUBLIC REVIEW AND COMMENT

The U.S. International Trade Commission has completed its first draft of a proposed simplified U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), and it is seeking public comment on the draft from importers, exporters, and others involved in international trade.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, was asked by the Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, to develop proposed modifications to the HTS in order to make it simpler, more transparent, and easier to use. The agency instituted its investigation, Simplification of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, on November 5, 1997, and will submit its final report to the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the President by July 13, 2000.

The ITC has released a public comment version of its draft proposed simplified HTS. The ITC's draft covers Chapters 1 through 97 of the HTS, including the General Notes, but does not cover the temporary or special U.S. provisions included in Chapters 98 and 99. As requested, the ITC's draft uses duty-rate levels scheduled to be effective on January 1, 2004.

The Commission notes that it is particularly interested in receiving input from the private sector regarding the proposed treatment of particular goods, as well as general comments about the changes suggested by the draft simplified HTS. Interested parties are asked to review the format and presentation of the proposed revised HTS, to consider whether the nomenclature has improved, and to evaluate the impact of specific proposed duty changes. The public is also asked to recommend other changes or further simplifications that might be undertaken.

Because of the length of the draft schedule and cross-reference table, they are being made available over the Internet only. Electronic files in PDF format have been posted on the ITC Internet site at www.usitc.gov (under the "Tariff Affairs" link). A printed copy of the draft schedule has been placed in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Room 112, Washington, DC 20436. A second copy is available in the ITC Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements (call 202-205-2592 for information).

The ITC seeks comments from all interested parties. Written comments should be submitted as quickly as possible, and follow-up statements are permitted. All statements (one original and 14 copies) must be received by 5:15 p.m. on June 30, 1999. All submission should be addressed to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

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