April 7, 2005
News Release 05-034
Inv. No. 332-467
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


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

The investigation, Advice Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2004 Special Review (Investigation No. 332-467), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on April 1, 2005.

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice as to the adverse impacts of the granting of a waiver of the competitive need limits for Indonesia for tropical plywood, HTS subheading 4412.13.40, and for contact lenses, HTS subheading 9001.30.00; and for Thailand for certain silver jewelry, HTS subheading 7113.11.50, and for electrostatic photocopying apparatus, HTS subheading 9009.12.00. "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 $115,000,000.

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

The ITC is expected to submit its confidential report to USTR by May 31, 2005. As requested by USTR, the ITC will also issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information deleted, on May 31, 2005.

The ITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that written submissions for the record be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, and be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on May 6, 2005. Because of the extraordinary circumstances created by the tsunami, the USTR has requested the report be submitted on an abbreviated timetable; therefore, no public hearing will be held in connection with this investigation.

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.

-- 30 --