January 31, 2002
News Release 02-014
Inv. No. 332-437


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation concerning possible modifications of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for certain products imported from beneficiary countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The investigation, Advice Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences with Respect to Certain Products Imported from AGOA Countries (Investigation No. 332-437), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice, with respect to unwrought manganese flake (HTS subheading 8111.00.45 (pt.)), as to the probable economic effect on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles and on consumers of the elimination of U.S. import duties only for countries designated as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA in general note 16 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The USTR requested that the Commission, in providing its advice, assume that GSP benefits would continue to apply to imports that would be normally excluded from receiving such benefits by virtue of the competitive need limits specified in section 503(c)(2)(A) of the Trade Act of 1974.

In addition, the ITC will provide advice, with respect to prepared or preserved pears (HTS subheading 2008.40.00), as to the probable economic effect on United States industries producing like or directly competitive articles and on consumers of the removal of the article from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the GSP. The USTR noted that the article is currently eligible for GSP only for countries designated as beneficiary AGOA countries in general note 16 of the HTS.

The President is required to seek the ITC's advice on the economic effect of such modifications before making them.

The ITC is expected to submit its confidential report to USTR by April 25, 2002. As soon as possible thereafter, the ITC will, as requested by USTR, issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information deleted.

The ITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the articles for which the ITC is requested to provide information and advice. The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on March 6, 2002. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 20, 2002, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. The hearing will be canceled if no witnesses are scheduled to appear as of the close of business on February 20, 2002. For further information, please call 202-205-1806.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 13, 2002.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, January 31, 2002, which can be downloaded from the ITC Internet server (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1806.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. 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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