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NEWS RELEASE 00-077; JUNE 16, 2000 June 16, 2000
News Release 00-077
Inv. No. 332-417

ITC LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION ON LIKELY EFFECTS OF DUTY-FREE ENTRY FOR GOODS FROM SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA; SEEKS INPUT FROM INTERESTED PARTIES

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation into the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for 1,897 articles from 48 potential beneficiary sub- Saharan African countries.

The investigation, Advice on Providing Additional GSP Benefits for Sub-Saharan Africa (Investigation No. 332-417), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Legislation amending GSP provisions for beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries was signed by the President on May 18, 2000 (P.L. 106-200).

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice on the probable economic effect on relevant U.S. industries and on consumers of the elimination of U.S. duties under the GSP for the articles under investigation. These articles are not currently designated as GSP-eligible or are designated as GSP-eligible only for least- developed beneficiary developing countries. After receiving the Commission's advice, the law would permit the President, if he determines that they are not "import-sensitive" in the context of imports from beneficiary countries, to provide duty-free treatment for any of the investigated articles imported from beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries.

The articles under investigation include watches; import-sensitive electronic articles; import sensitive steel articles; footwear; handbags; luggage; flat goods; work gloves; leather wearing apparel; import sensitive semimanufactured and manufactured glass products; and any other articles which the President has determined to be import sensitive in the context of GSP as described in section 503(b)(1)(B) through (G) of Title V of the Trade Act of 1974. A complete list of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule subheadings and the countries under investigation may be obtained from the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-1802 or the ITC's Internet site at www.usitc.gov.

The ITC is expected to submit its confidential report to USTR by October 2, 2000. As soon as possible thereafter, the ITC will, as requested by USTR, issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information deleted.

The ITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the articles for which the ITC is requested to provide information and advice. The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on Wednesday, July 27, 2000, continuing on to Thursday, July 28, 2000, if necessary. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on July 7, 2000, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. The hearing will be canceled if no witnesses are scheduled to appear as of the close of business on July 7, 2000. Any person interested in attending the hearing as an observer or non-participant may call the Secretary to the Commission (202-205-1806) after July 7, 2000, to determine whether the hearing will be held. For further information, please call 202-205-1806.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on August 3, 2000.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated June 15, 2000, which can be downloaded from the ITC Internet server (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1806.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the ITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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