The Commission conducts country or region-specific safeguard investigations under U.S. legislation that implements U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs). The safeguard provisions in the FTAs are generally transitional provisions operative for a limited period (e.g., 10 years) after the agreement enters into force. While each agreement is different, in general, if the Commission finds, as a result of a duty reduction under the agreement, that a domestic industry is seriously injured or threatened with serious injury by increased imports, it recommends a remedy to the President; the President makes the final decision on remedy. The United States has negotiated free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico (NAFTA), Australia, Bahrain, Chile, the Dominican Republic and several Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) (DR-CAFTA-US FTA), Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Peru, and Singapore. Several of these agreements have been in force for a period longer than the transitional period.
The term "business proprietary information" (BPI) or "confidential business information" (CBI) is defined in the Commission's regulations at 19 C.F.R. §201.6. The regulations define confidential business information as information which concerns or relates to the trade secrets, processes, operations, style of works or apparatus, or to the production, sales, shipments, purchases, transfers, identification of customers, inventories, or amount or source of any income, profits, losses, or expenditures of any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other organization, or other information of commercial value, the disclosure of which is likely to have the effect of either impairing the Commission's ability to obtain such information as is necessary to perform its statutory functions, or causing substantial harm to the competitive position of the person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other organization from which the information was obtained, unless the Commission is required by law to disclose such information.
Parties can request confidential treatment of BPI and CBI during the Commission's investigations. Certain statutes and the Commission's regulations provide for the limited disclosure of certain BPI and CBI under an administrative protective order.
Otherwise known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 ("CDSOA"), the Byrd Amendment provided for the annual distribution of antidumping and countervailing duties assessed on or after October 1, 2000 pursuant to countervailing duty and antidumping duty orders in effect on or after January 1, 1999. The distribution was available to "affected domestic producers for qualifying expenditures." Decisions regarding the awarding of funds and the firms eligible to receive funds are made by the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs). The Commission's sole responsibility was to forward to Customs within 60 days after issuance of a countervailing duty or antidumping duty order an initial list of potentially eligible "affected domestic producers" that publicly indicated support for the petition through a response to a Commission questionnaire during the investigation or by letter submitted to the Commission during that investigation.
Legislation repealing the Byrd Amendment was signed on February 8, 2006, but it permits payments to continue on duties collected on imports before October 1, 2007.
For more information, see the Byrd Amendment portion of this web site.