August 29, 2008
News Release 08-083
Inv. No. FTA-103-021
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
ITC LAUNCHES NEW INVESTIGATION
ON POSSIBLE MODIFICATION
TO THE U.S.-AUSTRALIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT RULES OF ORIGIN
The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly instituted investigation concerning proposed modifications of the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (USAFTA) rules of origin for certain yarns.
The investigation, Viscose Rayon Staple Fiber: Probable Effect of Modification of U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement Rules of Origin, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on August 14, 2008.
In her letter, the USTR noted that U.S. negotiators have recently reached agreement in principle with representatives of the Government of Australia to modify the USAFTA rules of origin for certain yarns because it has been determined that U.S. and Australian producers are not able to produce viscose rayon staple fiber in commercial quantities in a timely manner. The yarns affected could include blends of viscose rayon staple fibers with synthetic staple fibers, such as polyester, and with other artificial staple fibers, such as acetate.
As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice on the probable effect of the proposed USAFTA rules of origin modifications on U.S. trade and on domestic producers of the affected yarns. The proposed modifications were defined in an attachment to the request letter, which can be found on the ITC Internet site at http://edisweb.usitc.gov/edismirror/104-2628/Final/307518/377080/ 193/9e02cb.pdf.
The President has the authority, subject to the consultation and layover requirements of the USAFTA Implementation Act, to proclaim such modifications to the rules of origin as are necessary to implement an agreement with Australia, but must obtain advice regarding the proposed action from the ITC. The ITC expects to provide its confidential report to the USTR October 23, 2008, and will release a public version of the report as soon as possible thereafter.
The ITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the articles under investigation. The ITC will not hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation; however, the ITC welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on September 17, 2008.
Further information on the scope of this investigation, the proposed rules of origin modifications, and the procedures for written submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated August 29, 2008, which can be downloaded from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or obtained by contacting the Secretary at the above address.