May 13, 2010
News Release 10-048
Inv. No. 332-515
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

EFFECTS OF THREE EXISTING FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS ARE FOCUS OF NEW USITC INVESTIGATION

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an investigation to assess the U.S. export and import effects of the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded with Chile, Singapore, and Australia.

The investigation, Selected Sectoral Effects of the U.S. FTAs with Chile, Singapore, and Australia, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on April 13, 2010.

In his request letter, the USTR noted that the Administration has announced its intention to negotiate with seven countries to conclude a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The United States, Chile, Singapore, and Australia are among the eight countries participating in these negotiations.

The USTR further noted that the USITC currently is preparing an analysis for the USTR on the probable economic effect on U.S. industries and consumers of providing duty-free treatment for imports of products in the context of concluding the TPP Agreement, then stated: "In addition to this analysis, it would be useful and further inform U.S. negotiating positions if the Commission could provide a separate analysis of the actual effects of the free trade agreements (FTAs) concluded with Chile, Singapore, and Australia, as FTAs with each of these countries have been in effect for at least 4 years, and they are participating in the negotiations of the TPP Agreement."

The U.S. FTAs with Chile and Singapore entered into force on January 1, 2004, and the U.S. FTA with Australia entered into force on January 1, 2005.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will identify products that are the subject of long U.S. or partner-country tariff phase-out periods under these three agreements and for which an anomalous post-FTA trade pattern has been observed, and then discuss the possible causes for these anomalies. The Commission will also consider anomalies in the trade of other products and services and provide possible explanations for such anomalies.

The Commission expects to submit its report, which will be confidential, to the USTR by December 13, 2010.

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 signed original and 14 copies) should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on June 22, 2010, and should be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade 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 May 15, 2010, 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.

USITC 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 House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. 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 mattes in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the Commission submits its findings and analysis 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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