January 30, 2003
News Release 03-009
Inv. No. 332-449

ITC WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR CERTAIN WOOL ARTICLES

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will continue to monitor U.S. market conditions for certain wool products that will benefit from temporary tariff reductions through December 31, 2005.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will conduct the investigation, U.S. Market Conditions for Certain Wool Articles in 2002-04 (Investigation No. 332-449), at the request of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

In his request letter, the USTR noted that Section 5102 of the Trade Act of 2002 extends temporary reductions of tariffs and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for imports of certain worsted wool fabric that is used in men's or boys' suits, suit-type jackets, and trousers. The TRQs were initially set under Title V of the Trade and Development Act of 2000 for a three year period that ended December 31, 2002, and the ITC monitored and reported on U.S. market conditions for these wool products during that time. The USTR noted that the TRQs will now be in effect for an additional three years and, as before, may be modified by the President if certain market conditions develop. As before, the 2002 Act requires the President to monitor domestic demand for, supply of, and production of men's and boys' worsted wool suits, suit-type jackets, and trousers; worsted wool fabric and yarn used in the manufacture of such clothing; and wool fibers used in the manufacture of such fabrics and yarn. The USTR has again requested that the ITC launch an investigation to conduct the monitoring and provide additional data in two annual reports.

As requested, in each submission, the ITC will provide the data noted above. The agency will also report on increases or decreases in sales and production of the domestically produced worsted wool fabrics specified; increases or decreases in domestic production and consumption of the specified apparel items; the ability of domestic producers of the worsted wool fabrics being monitored to meet the needs of domestic manufacturers of the specified apparel items in terms of quantity and ability to meet market demands for the apparel items; sales of the specified worsted wool fabrics lost by domestic manufacturers to imports benefitting from the temporary duty reductions on certain worsted wool fabrics; lost sales by domestic manufacturers of the specified apparel items due to their inability to purchase adequate supplies of the specified wool fabrics on a cost competitive basis; and the price per square meter of imports and domestic sales of the specified worsted wool fabrics.

The ITC will submit its first report, providing data for 2002 and year-to-date 2002-03, by October 27, 2003. The second report, providing data for 2003 and year-to-date 2003-04, will be submitted by October 25, 2004. Public versions of these reports will be made available as soon as possible after submission to the USTR.

The ITC intends to hold a public hearing in connection with the second report under this investigation, but not the first report. The ITC welcomes written submissions for the record. Interested parties are invited to submit written statements (original and 14 copies) at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on June 9, 2003. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

Further information on the scope of this investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated January 29, 2003, which may be obtained from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1806.

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

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