February 10, 2005
News Release 05-019
Inv. No. 332-466
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

ITC LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION CONCERNING POSSIBLE MODIFICATIONS TO THE U.S. GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES, 2004 REVIEW

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation concerning possible modifications of the Generalized System of Preferences.

The investigation, Advice Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2004 Review (Investigation No. 332-466), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, fact finding federal agency, will provide advice as to whether any industry in the United States is likely to be adversely affected by the addition of dates, HTS subheadings 0804.10.20, 0804.10.40, 0804.10.60, 0804.10.80, and 2008.99.25; certain carpets and rugs, HTS subheadings 5702.51.20, 5702.91.30, 5702.92.0010, 5702.99.1010, 5703.10.0020, 5703.20.10, and 5703.30.0020; and leaf springs and leaves for motor vehicle suspensions, HTS subheading 7320.10.60.

In addition, the Commission will provide advice as to the probable economic effect on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles and on consumers of the removal of Russia from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the GSP for polytetrafluoroethylene in primary forms, HTS subheading 3904.61.00.

The study will also provide advice as to the adverse impacts of the granting of a waiver of the competitive need limits for Argentina for certain leather goods, HTS subheadings 4107.19.50 and 4107.92.80; for the Philippines for certain fatty acids or acid oils, HTS subheading 3823.19.20; and for Turkey for certain travertine dimension stone, HTS subheading 6802.91.25. "Competitive need limits" represent the maximum import level of a product that is eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP; once the limit is reached, trade is considered "competitive," benefits are no longer needed, and imports of the article become ineligible for GSP treatment, unless a waiver is granted. With respect to the competitive need limit in section 503(c)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the 1974 Act, the Commission, as requested, will use the dollar value limit of $115,000,000.

The USTR will publish full article descriptions in the Federal Register.

The ITC is expected to submit its confidential report to USTR by May 9, 2005. 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 at 9:30 a.m. March 23, 2005. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 4, 2005, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (original and 14 copies) 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 March 30, 2005. Further information concerning this investigation is available in the ITC Federal Register notice dated February 10, 2005.

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.

-- 30 --