The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation into the probable economic effect of a potential U.S. free trade agreement with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam the seven countries with which the United States will engage to negotiate a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a potential platform for economic integration across the Asia- Pacific region, according to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The USTR requested the investigation, U.S.-Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement: Advice On Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty-Free Treatment for Imports, in a letter received December 15, 2009.
In his letter, the USTR noted that the United States plans to pursue a free trade agreement with TPP members. The USTR indicated that advice from the Commission will assist the USTR in its consultations with Congress and its preparations for negotiations.
As requested by the USTR, the USITC will advise the President as to the probable economic effect of providing duty-free treatment for imports of products of the TPP members on industries in the United States producing like or directly competitive articles and on consumers. In preparing its advice, the USITC will consider each article in chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States for which U.S. tariffs will remain after the United States fully implements its Uruguay Round tariff commitments and U.S. free trade agreements with a TPP country. The advice will be based on the 2010 Harmonized Tariff Schedule nomenclature and trade data for the year 2008. The advice will assume that any known U.S. non-tariff barrier will not be applicable to such imports, and the USITC will note in its report any instance in which the continued application of a U.S. non-tariff barrier would result in different advice with respect to the effect of the removal of the duty.
In addition, as requested by the USTR, the USITC will advise the President as to the probable economic effects of eliminating tariffs on imports of certain agricultural products of the TPP members on U.S. industries producing the product concerned and the economy as a whole. A list of the products is attached to the USTR's request letter, which can be which can be found on the USITC Internet site at: http://www.usitc.gov/research_and_analysis/ongoing/tpp_fta_request_letter.pdf.
The USITC expects to submit its report, which will be confidential, to the USTR by June 2, 2010.
The USITC is seeking input for this investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the USITC is requested to provide information and advice.
The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on March 2, 2010. Requests to appear at the hearing (one original and 14 copies) should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 16, 2010, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. For further information, call 202-205-2000.
The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary of 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 23, 2010. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.
Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the USITC's notice of investigation, dated January 11, 2010, which can be downloaded from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-2000.