October 10, 2000
News Release 00-134
Inv. No. 332-417


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today released a public version of its confidential report on the probable economic effect of providing duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for selected articles from 48 beneficiary countries in sub-Saharan Africa, entitled Advice on Providing Additional GSP Benefits for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, submitted a confidential version of the report to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on October 2, 2000. The USTR requested that the ITC issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information deleted.

On May 18, 2000, the President signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which amended the GSP provisions of the Trade Act of 1974 to authorize the President to provide duty free treatment for certain articles from designated beneficiary countries in sub-Saharan Africa if he determines that such articles are not "import-sensitive" in the context of imports from beneficiary countries. Before designating an article, the President must first receive the ITC's advice.

The articles considered in the investigation included certain watches; electronic articles; steel articles; glass products; and footwear, handbags, luggage, flat goods, work gloves, and leather wearing apparel, as well as other articles which the President had determined to be import sensitive in the context of GSP as described in section 503(b)(1)(B) through (G) of Title V of the Trade Act of 1974.

U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa of the articles under consideration totaled $6.3 billion in 1999, of which 93 percent ($5.9 billion) comprised energy and related products and the remainder ($414 million), mostly steel and related products and agricultural goods. Of the total imports from the region, 34 percent (almost $2.2 billion) were entered free of duty under the GSP as products of least-developed beneficiary countries in 1999, while the remainder (66 percent, or $4.2 billion) were almost entirely dutiable. The major sources of these dutiable imports were Nigeria ($2.6 billion) and Gabon ($732 million), whose shipments consisted almost entirely of energy and related products. The major source of non-energy dutiable imports was South Africa ($319 million).

Advice on Providing Additional GSP Benefits for Sub-Saharan Africa (Investigation No. 332-417, USITC publication 3359, October 2000) will be posted in the Publications and Reports area of the ITC Internet site at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be made by fax to 202-205-2104.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade. The investigations are generally conducted at the request of USTR, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means; the ITC may also self-initiate investigations. The resulting reports convey the Commission's objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects 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 investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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