Understanding Other USITC Statutory Responsibilities

Advice Concerning Trade Negotiations

The USITC advises the President as to the probable economic effect on domestic industries and consumers of modification of duties and other barriers to trade that may be considered for inclusion in any proposed trade agreement with foreign countries. (For further information, see section 131, Trade Act of 1974, 19 U.S.C. 2151.)

The USITC advises the USTR as to the probable economic effects on the U.S. industry producing the product concerned and on the U.S. economy as a whole of a tariff reduction on import-sensitive agricultural products. (For further information, see section 2104(b)(2)(A)(iii), Trade Act of 2002, 19 U.S.C. 3804(b)(2)(A)(iii).)

The USITC provides the President and the Congress with a report that assesses the likely impact on the U.S. economy as a whole and on specific sectors and the interests of U.S. consumers of proposed free trade agreements with foreign countries. (For further information, see section 2104(f), Trade Act of 2002, 19 U.S.C. 3804(f).)

Section 22, Agricultural Adjustment Act, Import Interference With Agricultural Programs

Under section 22, the USITC conducts investigations at the direction of the President to determine whether products are being (or are practically certain to be) imported into the United States under such conditions and in such quantities that they render or tend to render ineffective or materially interfere with any program of the Department of Agriculture.

The USITC makes findings and recommendations to the President. The President may impose a fee or quota on the imports in question. However, no fee or quota may be imposed on any article produced by a member of the World Trade Organization. (For further information, see section 22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, 7 U.S.C. 624.)

Section 406, Trade Act of 1974, Trade With Communist Countries

Under section 406 of the Trade Act of 1974, the Commission determines whether imports from a Communist country are causing market disruption in the United States. Section 406 investigations are similar procedurally to Commission investigations under section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. If the Commission finds market disruption, it then makes a remedy recommendation to the President. The President makes the final decision with respect to remedy. (For further information, see section 406, Trade Act of 1974, 19 U.S.C. 2436.)

Section 603, Trade Act of 1974 (Preliminary Investigations), Expedition of Preliminary Investigations

Section 603 of the Trade Act of 1974 authorizes the USITC to conduct preliminary investigations in order to expedite the performance of its functions under the Act. In recent years, the USITC has used this provision on several occasions in conjunction with section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (which was amended by the Trade Act of 1974) to investigate allegations that may, with the gathering of additional information, provide a basis for an investigation under section 337. (For further information, see section 603, Trade Act of 1974, 19 U.S.C. 2482.)

Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act

The USITC submits biennial reports to Congress and the President on the economic impact on U.S. industries and consumers of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Program. (For further information, see 19 U.S.C. 2704.)

Uniform Statistical Data

The USITC, in cooperation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce, establishes for statistical purposes an enumeration of articles imported into the United States and exported from the United States and seeks to establish comparability of such statistics with statistical programs for domestic production. (For further information, see section 484(f), Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. 1484(f).)

Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

The USITC publishes the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. (For further information, see section 1207 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, 19 U.S.C. 3007; and sections 332(a) and 484(f), Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. 1332(a), 1484(f).)

Harmonized System Convention

The USITC has responsibility, along with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce, to represent the U.S. government concerning the activities of the Customs Cooperation Council (now informally known as the World Customs Organization Council, or WCO) relating to the Harmonized System Convention and to formulate U.S. government positions on technical and procedural issues relating to the Convention. (For further information, see section 1210, Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, 19 U.S.C. 3010.)

In addition, the USITC is responsible for reviewing the HTS and for recommending to the President such modifications as it considers necessary or appropriate to conform the HTS with amendments to the Harmonized System Convention, to ensure that the HTS is kept up to date, and to alleviate unnecessary administrative burdens. (For further information, see section 1205, Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, 19 U.S.C. 3005.)

Generalized System of Preferences

With respect to articles that may be considered for duty-free treatment when imported from designated developing countries, the USITC advises the President as to the probable economic effect on the domestic industry and on consumers of the removal of duty. (For further information, see sections 131 and 503, Trade Act of 1974, 19 U.S.C. 2151, 2163.)

Andean Trade Preference Act

The USITC submits biennial reports to Congress and the President on the impact on U.S. industries and consumers of the Andean Trade Preference Act and Andean drug crop eradication and crop substitution. (For further information, see 19 U.S.C. 3204.)