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NEWS RELEASE 02-020; MARCH 1, 2002 March 1, 2002
News Release 02-020
Invs. Nos. 332-440 and 332-441

ITC LAUNCHES SEPARATE INVESTIGATIONS ON THE PROBABLE ECONOMIC EFFECT OF THE REDUCTION OR ELIMINATION OF U.S. AND FOREIGN TARIFFS

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for two newly initiated investigations. The first investigation concerns the probable economic effect of the reduction or elimination of U.S. tariffs, and the second investigation concerns the probable economic effect of the reduction or elimination of foreign tariffs.

The investigations, Probable Economic Effect of the Reduction or Elimination of U.S. Tariffs (Investigation No. 332- 440), and Probable Economic Effect of the Reduction or Elimination of Foreign Tariffs (Investigation No. 332- 441), were requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in letters received on February 11, 2002.

In the letters, the USTR stated that the new WTO agenda, launched at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, will include negotiations to reduce duties on industrial products and supplement ongoing WTO negotiations on agriculture. In addition, negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) will be initiated this year. Accordingly, the USTR has asked the ITC to provide advice on the effect of U.S. tariff reductions on U.S. industries and consumers, as well as to identify and analyze U.S. export priorities.

In the first investigation, the ITC will provide advice as to the probable economic effect on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles and on consumers of eliminating U.S. tariffs of 5 percent ad valorem or below on dutiable imports from all U.S. trading partners and reducing all other U.S. tariffs by 50 percent; eliminating U.S. tariffs on all dutiable imports from all U.S. trading partners; and eliminating U.S. tariffs on all dutiable imports from FTAA countries.

The import analysis will consider each article in chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States for which tariffs will remain after the United States fully implements its Uruguay Round tariff commitments. The import advice will be based on the 2002 Harmonized Tariff System nomenclature and 2000 trade data. The report will identify the five largest sources of dutiable imports (including import values) for each article under the scenarios identified above.

In the second investigation, the ITC will provide advice, at the most disaggregated level feasible, on the probable economic effect on U.S. industry sectors and U.S. exports if U.S. trading partners reduce or eliminate their tariffs as a result of the WTO and FTAA negotiations. Specifically, the Commission will provide advice on the effect on U.S. exports and major U.S. agricultural and industrial sectors, as the Commission defines them, if all U.S. trading partners eliminate their tariffs of 5 percent ad valorem or below and reduce all other tariffs by 50 percent; if all U.S. trading partners eliminate their tariffs; and if all FTAA countries eliminate their tariffs.

The ITC will provide its advice in reports, which will be confidential, to the USTR. The report in the first investigation will be submitted to the USTR by August 9, 2002. The report in the second investigation will be submitted to the USTR by November 22, 2002.

The ITC is seeking input for these investigations 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 public hearings in connection with these investigations. The hearing in the first investigation (Probable Economic Effect of the Reduction or Elimination of U.S. Tariffs, Inv. No. 332-440) will be held on May 1, 2002; the hearing in the second investigation (Probable Economic Effect of the Reduction or Elimination of Foreign Tariffs, Inv. No. 332-441) will be held on May 3, 2002. Requests to appear at either hearing (one original and 14 copies) should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 17, 2002, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests to appear at both hearings must be filed separately. To allow sufficient time for full consideration, the Commission encourages all persons who appear at the public hearings to submit any prepared statements and accompanying material to the Secretary by 5:15 p.m. on April 19, 2002. For further information, call 202-205-1816.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the records in each investigation. 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 10, 2002. Submissions should clearly specify the investigation of interest.

Further information on the scope of the investigations and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notices of investigation, dated March 1, 2002, which can be downloaded from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1816.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as these, 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 these, by the requestor for national security reasons.

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