The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) will hold a public hearing in Merrillville, Indiana, located south of Gary, as part of its global safeguard investigation concerning steel.
The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. on Friday, October 5, 2001, at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, 800 East 81st Avenue, Merrillville, Indiana.
The hearing is being held to gather factual information for use by the Commission in determining whether certain steel products are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities that they are a substantial cause of serious injury, or threat of serious injury, to the U.S. steel industry.
Requests to appear at the hearing and the names of witnesses should be filed in writing with the Secretary to the Commission no later than 5:15 p.m. on Friday, September 21, 2001. Written requests should be sent to the Secretary to the Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Persons testifying at the October 5th hearing are encouraged to file written statements before the hearing; the deadline for filing such statements (one original and 14 copies) is Monday, October 1, 2001. If statements are submitted at the hearing, persons testifying are asked to provide at least 50 copies.
The Commission is interested in receiving testimony directly from persons who will not participate in related hearings scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, in late September and who have first-hand knowledge of the following issues: (1) the state of the domestic steel industry or industries (e.g., employment levels, including unemployment or underemployment; worker training; and/or levels of commercial activity at productive facilities); (2) the influence of imports or other factors on the state of the domestic industry or industries; (3) the conditions of competition (e.g., the business cycle, domestic demand); and (4) the similarities and differences between and among specific steel products with regard to physical characteristics, uses, manufacturing processes, channels of distribution, and substitutability.
Requests to appear at the hearing should identify the above-listed categories and products to be addressed and the amount of time requested. After receiving these requests, Commission staff will notify participants of their time allotments. The Commission does not intend this hearing to serve as an opportunity for rebuttal to testimony presented at the Washington, DC, hearings.
Further information concerning this hearing may be found in the Commission's notice issued on August 29, 2001, which is available on the Commission's Internet site at www.usitc.gov. The notice and additional information can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-2000. News media inquiries should be directed to Peg O'Laughlin, Public Affairs Officer, at 202-205-1819.
The United States International Trade Commission is an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.
The six Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for nine-year terms (unless appointed to fill an unexpired term). No more than three Commissioners may be of any one political party. Currently three Democrats and three Republicans serve as Commissioners. The current Commissioners of the USITC are Stephen Koplan (Chairman); Deanna Tanner Okun (Vice Chairman); Lynn M. Bragg; Marcia E. Miller; Jennifer A. Hillman; and Dennis M. Devaney. Further information about the Commission and the Commissioners may be found on the Commission's Internet site at http://www.usitc.gov/webinfcn.htm.
A list of frequently asked questions concerning global safeguard investigations follows.
Global Safeguard Investigations -- Frequently Asked Questions
Global Safeguard Investigations -- Frequently Asked Questions
Investigations under this law may be requested when increased imports of a product are alleged to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or threat of serious injury, to a U.S. industry. If the Commission makes an affirmative determination, this law allows the United States to "escape" from our obligations under our international trade agreements to give affected industries temporary relief for a limited period of time to enable them to adjust to import competition. The U.S. law implements U.S. obligations under the WTO Agreement on Safeguards and Article XIX of GATT 1994.
No. Global safeguard investigations do not require the finding of an unfair trade practice. The Commission's responsibility is to decide whether an article is being imported in such increased quantities that it is a substantial cause of serious injury, or threat of serious injury, to the U.S. industry. However, the injury requirement under section 201 is considered to be more difficult than those of the unfair trade practice statutes. Section 201 requires that the injury or threatened injury be "serious" and that the increased imports must be a "substantial cause" of the serious injury or threat of serious injury.
Yes. Dumping, or sales in the United States of an imported product at less than fair value, is an unfair trade practice. Dumping investigations are conducted under a different law, have different injury standards and procedures, and, if affirmative, result in different remedies. Safeguard investigations involve imports of a product from all countries, while dumping cases are country specific.
Both definitions are found in the statute:
Substantial cause means a "cause which is important and not less than any other cause."
Serious injury means a "significant overall impairment in the position of a domestic industry."
The Commission will conduct an investigation to determine whether the imports involved are a substantial cause of serious injury or threat of serious injury to the U.S. industry or industries.
The overall investigation must be completed within 180 days from receipt of the request. Within that 180 days, the Commission will complete an injury phase, and if it makes an affirmative injury determination, a remedy phase.
As a general matter, the Commission has 120 days to complete the injury phase and 60 days to complete the remedy phase. It holds a public hearing in each phase.
If the Commission's injury determination is affirmative, a remedy phase will be completed. At the conclusion of the remedy phase, the Commission will announce its remedy recommendation(s).
The Commission's findings and any remedy recommendations must be forwarded in a report to the President within 180 days of the receipt of the request.
If the Commission makes an affirmative injury determination, within 60 days of receipt of the Commission's report, the President decides whether to provide relief to the U.S. industry, and if so, the type and kind of relief to provide. The President may request additional information from the Commission within 15 days of receiving its report; if he does so, the Commission has 30 days to provide that information. If the Commission makes a negative injury determination, the case will end and no relief may be provided.
In determining what action to take, if any, the President is to take into account the Commission's report, industry efforts to make a positive adjustment to import competition, factors related to the national economic interest of the United States, and certain other statutory factors.
If the Commission makes an affirmative injury determination (or is equally divided) on some products but not others, the remedy phase will include only those products for which the Commission makes an affirmative determination or is equally divided.
It is rare, but certainly not unprecedented. While investigations under this law are generally sought by firms in the industry, the law also authorizes the President or the USTR, as well as the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, to make such requests. The last time the Administration requested an investigation under section 201 was in 1985 and involved apple juice imports. The Administration requested a stainless steel investigation in 1982 as well as a mushroom investigation in 1976.
The Commission may recommend to the President an increase in a duty, imposition of a quota, imposition of a tariff-rate quota (e.g., a two-level tariff, under which goods enter at a higher duty after the quota is filled), trade adjustment assistance, or any combination of such actions. In addition, the Commission may also recommend that the President initiate international negotiations to address the underlying cause of the increase in imports or that he implement any other action authorized under the law that is likely to facilitate positive adjustment to import competition. The Commission's relief recommendation may differ for each product under investigation. The decision concerning the form of relief ultimately granted is made by the President. The President may take action for an initial period of up to four years.
Basically, all countries. Global safeguard investigations are not country specific. They involve imports of the products under investigation from all sources. However, Commissioners who make affirmative injury determinations are required to make additional separate findings for certain countries with which the U.S. has free trade agreements. These include the NAFTA countries (Canada and Mexico), the beneficiary countries of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, the beneficiary countries of the Andean Trade Preference Act, and Israel.
The Commissioners base their determinations in global safeguard investigations on the requirements of the law (sections 201-204 of the Trade Act of 1974) and the factual record developed in the investigation.
The Commission employs a variety of fact-gathering techniques, which include industry- specific questionnaires, telephone interviews, plant visits, consultations with technical and marketing specialists, public hearings, briefs by the parties and non-party submissions, and reviews of industry and market literature. A public hearing is held in the injury phase of the investigation; if the Commission makes an affirmative injury determination and completes a remedy phase in the investigation, a hearing on remedy will also be held.
The Commission collects and analyzes the extensive data in the investigation, which include the industry's productive capacity, actual production, capacity utilization, domestic and export shipments, inventories, imports, domestic market shares held by U.S. and foreign suppliers, employment, hours worked, productivity, wages and total compensation paid, unit labor costs, pricing, and full financial data on the U.S. companies producing the product under investigation. The Commission also gathers and analyzes information about the foreign industries producing the product under investigation.
Commission determinations are not appealable to U.S. courts except on procedural grounds. Countries may seek dispute settlement in the World Trade Organization at any time if they feel a U.S. global safeguard action is inconsistent with WTO obligations. WTO members may seek review of any U.S. action by a panel under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding. In addition, under the NAFTA, Canada and Mexico may seek review of a global safeguard action by a NAFTA panel.