March 14, 2007
News Release 07-028
Inv. No. 332-486
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

ITC TO INVESTIGATE THE PROBABLE ECONOMIC EFFECT OF DUTY-FREE, QUOTA-FREE ACCESS TO U.S. MARKET FOR IMPORTS FROM LEAST-DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC or Commission) has launched an investigation to assess the probable economic effect of allowing products from the world's least-developed countries to enter the United States free of all duties and quotas.

The investigation, Probable Economic Effect of Duty-Free, Quota-Free Treatment for Imports from Least-Developed Countries (LDCs), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on February 16, 2007.

In her request letter, the USTR noted that members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reached an agreement at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December 2005 to provide duty-free, quota-free market access to products from LDCs, as defined by the United Nations. The United States will implement the initiative together with the results of the overall Doha round multi-lateral trade negotiations.

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice to USTR as to the probable economic effect of providing duty-free, quota-free treatment for LDC imports on industries in the United States producing like or directly competitive products and on consumers. This investigation will cover each article in chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States for which U.S. tariffs or quotas will remain after the United States fully implements its Uruguay Round tariff commitments, taking into account preferential tariff treatment currently being provided to LDCs under the Generalized System of Preferences, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative programs. The Commission's advice will be based on the 2002 HTS nomenclature and on 2006 trade and tariff rate data.

The Commission expects to submit its report, which will be confidential, to the USTR by August 16, 2007.

The Commission will not hold a public hearing in connection with this investigation; however, it welcomes written submissions for the record from all interested parties. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 3, 2007, and should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and the procedures for written submissions is available in the Commission's notice of investigation, dated March 14, 2007, which can be obtained from the Commission's Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-2000.

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 subject 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 investigations reports are subsequently released to the public, unless, like this one, they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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