January 29, 1999
News Release 99-014
Inv. No. 332-404


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input from industry officials, trade associations, and others for a factfinding investigation on conditions affecting the U.S. methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) industry.

The investigation, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE): Conditions Affecting the Domestic Industry (Investigation No. 332-404), was requested by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received December 23, 1998.

In the request letter, the USTR noted that U.S. producers of MTBE have expressed concerns about competitive conditions affecting their industry, including increased MTBE imports from Saudi Arabia. The USTR further noted that producers believe that these increased imports are the indirect result of the Saudi Arabian government's provision of butane feedstock to domestic MTBE producers at a substantial discount to world market prices.

As requested, the ITC will provide a factfinding study, with emphasis on the U.S. and Saudi Arabian MTBE industries. The report will include an overview of the world MTBE market and profiles of the U.S. and Saudi Arabian industries, addressing, to the extent possible, factors such as production, trade, consumption; the MTBE production process with information concerning major feedstocks; and government programs affecting production and trade of MTBE.

The ITC report will be submitted to the USTR no later than September 23, 1999.

The ITC is seeking information for its study from all interested parties. A public hearing will be held on April 1, 1999, in connection with the investigation. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 17, 1999, 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 (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary at the address above and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 14, 1999. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated January 27, 1999, which may be obtained from the ITC Internet server (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1802.

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