February 20, 2004
News Release 04-018
Inv. No. 332-459


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation concerning possible modifications to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

The investigation, Advice Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2003 Review (Investigation No. 332-459), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice as to whether any industry in the United States is likely to be adversely affected by the addition of mufflers and exhaust pipes for motor vehicles and wheel rims for bicycles imported under HTS subheadings 8708.92.50 and 8714.92.10, respectively. Also, the Commission will provide advice as to whether any industry in the United States is likely to be adversely affected by the removal from eligibility for duty-free treatment under the GSP for adipic acid, HTS subheading 2917.12.10, and high-density polyethylene resins in primary forms, HTS subheadings 3901.10.00 (pt.) and 3901.20.00 (pt.); PET film, HTS subheading 3920.62.00; and PET bottle-grade resins in primary forms, HTS subheading 3907.60.00.10.

The study will also provide advice as to the adverse impacts of the granting of a waiver of the competitive need limits for fancy leather from Argentina, HTS subheading 4107.11.80; for cookware from Thailand, HTS subheading 7615.19.30; and for camcorders from Indonesia, HTS subheading 8525.40.80. "Competitive need limits" represent the maximum import level of a product that is eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP; once the limit is reached, trade is considered "competitive," benefits are no longer needed, and imports of the article become ineligible for GSP treatment, unless a waiver is granted. With respect to the competitive need limit in section 503(c)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the 1974 Act, the Commission, as requested, will use the dollar value limit of $110,000,000.

The USTR will publish full article descriptions in the Federal Register.

The ITC is expected to submit its confidential report to USTR by May 13, 2004. 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 at 9:30 a.m. March 31, 2004. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 4, 2004, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. In addition, persons appearing should file prehearing briefs (original and 14 copies) with the Secretary by the close of business on March 5, 2004. Posthearing briefs should be filed with the Secretary by close of business on April 2, 2004 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 April 2, 2004.

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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