January 30, 2003
News Release 03-010
Inv. No. 332-450


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today announced that it will follow procedures similar to those it used in 2002 to gather information from industry and public sources for its advice to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in connection with the apparel-related "commercial availability" (formerly "short supply") provisions in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). However, the Commission noted that it will be adjusting its procedure for notifying the public of its initiation of commercial availability reviews.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, is launching a new "umbrella" investigation, as requested by the USTR. Under the "umbrella" investigation, the ITC will conduct individual product-specific reviews on the probable economic effect of granting duty- free and quota-free treatment to certain apparel imports from AGOA, CBTPA, and ATPDEA countries.

The AGOA and the CBTPA, both part of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, and the ATPDEA, part of the Trade Act of 2002, extend duty-free and quota-free treatment to imports of apparel assembled in AGOA, CBTPA, and ATPDEA beneficiary countries from fabrics made in the United States from U.S. yarns. They also authorize the President, on request of an interested party, to grant preferential treatment to apparel made in AGOA, CBTPA, and ATPDEA beneficiary countries from fabrics or yarns which "cannot be supplied by the domestic industry in commercial quantities in a timely manner," regardless of the source of the fabrics or yarns. Before proclaiming such preferential treatment, the President is required to submit a report to the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Ways and Means and the U.S. Senate's Committee on Finance that sets forth the proposed action, the reasons for it, advice from the ITC on the probable economic effect of the action, and advice from the appropriate industry advisory committee.

The ITC's advice will be provided on an ongoing basis during 2003 under Investigation No. 332- 450, Commercial Availability of Apparel Inputs (2003): Effect of Providing Preferential Treatment to Apparel from Sub-Saharan African, Caribbean Basin, and Andean Countries. The ITC will submit its advice to USTR in a series of classified reports, with each report provided on or about the 42nd day after receipt of a commercial availability request. A public version of each report will be available shortly after the ITC submits its report to the USTR.

The ITC will not issue a Federal Register notice in connection with any request for which it initiates analysis, and it will not issue a news release, as it has in the past. Instead, the ITC will post a notification letter announcing the initiation of each review on its Internet site (www.usitc.gov). The notification letter will identify the articles under consideration, request public comment on the proposed preferential treatment to be proclaimed, and refer the public to a special area on the ITC's Internet site (www.usitc.gov/shortsup/shortsupintro.htm) for information on the request. Each notification letter will also provide the name, telephone number, and Internet e-mail address of ITC staff who will be able to provide additional information.

In addition, the ITC has developed a group list of facsimile addresses of interested parties or individuals who wish to be automatically notified via facsimile about the initiation of any commercial availability reviews. Interested parties may be added to this list by notifying Jackie W. Jones (202-205-3466, jones@usitc.gov).

Further information on the requests under review in this investigation also may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, or by calling 202-205-1802. In addition, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) publishes a summary of each request from interested parties in the Federal Register. These notices are posted on OTEXA's Internet site at http://otexa.ita.doc.gov/fr.htm.

Because of time constraints, the ITC will not hold public hearings in connection with the "umbrella" investigation or any of the requests it receives. However, interested parties will be invited to submit written statements for the record for each requested review. The ITC is particularly interested in receiving input from the private sector on the likely effect of the proposed action on U.S. producers, workers, and consumers.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the USTR, 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 analysis 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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