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NEWS RELEASE 02-018; February 21, 2002 February 21, 2002
News Release 02-018
Inv. No. 332-439

ITC LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION ON THE PROBABLE ECONOMIC EFFECT OF A U.S.-SINGAPORE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT; SEEKS INPUT FROM TRADE ASSOCIATIONS, INDUSTRY OFFICIALS, AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation into the probable economic effect of a U.S.-Singapore free trade agreement.

The investigation, U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement: Advice Concerning the Probable Economic Effect (Investigation No. 332-439), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on February 11, 2002.

In the letter, the USTR stated that the United States and Singapore are engaged in negotiations to reach a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement. He noted that the USTR had previously asked the ITC to provide advice as to the economic impact of the FTA and that the ITC's resulting confidential report, U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement: Potential Trade and Economic Effects (Inv. No. 332-422, January 2001) has served as a useful tool in helping formulate U.S. negotiating positions and in conducting an environmental review of the proposed agreement. For the current investigation, the USTR is asking the ITC to provide additional advice that will assist his staff in carrying out tariff negotiations with Singapore.

As requested by USTR, the ITC will advise the President as to the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment for imports of products of Singapore on industries in the United States producing like or directly competitive articles and on consumers. In preparing its advice with respect to the removal of U.S. duties on imports from Singapore, the ITC is to consider each article in chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States for which U.S. tariffs will remain after the United States fully implements its Uruguay Round tariff commitments. The advice is to be based on the 2002 Harmonized Tariff System nomenclature and trade data for the year 2000.

The ITC will submit its advice in a report, which will be confidential, to the USTR by June 11, 2002, if possible.

The ITC is seeking input for this investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the ITC is requested to provide information and advice.

The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on April 25, 2002. Requests to appear at the hearing (one original and 14 copies) should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 16, 2002, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436. To allow sufficient time for full consideration, the Commission encourages all persons who appear at the public hearing to submit any prepared statements and accompanying material to the Secretary by 5:15 p.m. on April 18, 2002. For further information, call 202-205-1816.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on May 9, 2002.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated February 20, 2002, which can be obtained from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1816.

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 requestor. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified, like this one, by the requestor for national security reasons.

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