August 8, 2012
News Release 12-088
Inv. No. 332-532 and 332-536
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
PROPOSED EXPANSION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENT
TO BE EXAMINED BY U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION
Proposed New Products Could Gain Duty-Free Treatment from ITA Participant Countries
The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched two investigations into the proposed expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA).
The investigations were requested by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
The investigations will cover a draft list of information and communications technology (ICT) products, compiled by the USTR and included with his request letter, that could be considered for duty free treatment under the ITA.
In his request letter, the USTR noted that the successful conclusion of the ITA in 1996 opened markets in 42 countries to U.S. exports of computers, semiconductors, telecommunications, software, and other electronics products. The ITA now includes 74 participants representing 97 percent of trade in the products covered by the agreement. The ITA participants agreed in May 2012 to begin negotiations, under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, to expand ITA product coverage. The USTR indicated that formal negotiations are expected to begin in September 2012.
As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide the USTR with two reports.
The first report, The Information Technology Agreement: Advice and Information on the Proposed Expansion, Part I (Inv. No. 332-532), will provide information concerning both the ICT and non-ICT uses of the listed products. It will also identify products that U.S. industry and other interested parties view as import sensitive. The USITC expects to deliver the first report to USTR by October 24, 2012.
The USITC is seeking written submissions for the record in connection with the first report and requests comments addressing product uses and import sensitivity. Written submissions must be received no later than 5:15 p.m. on September 6, 2012, and should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.
The second report, The Information Technology Agreement: Advice and Information on the Proposed Expansion, Part 2 (Inv. No. 332-536), will identify, for each product, the major producing countries; leading U.S. export markets; leading sources of U.S. imports; and tariffs applied to these products in major markets. The report will also include an overview of key subsectors and, to the extent practicable, examine the benefits to U.S. industry of ITA expansion. The USITC expects to deliver the second report to USTR by February 15, 2013.
The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the second report at 9:30 a.m. on November 8, 2012. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on October 31, 2012, with the Secretary to the Commission at the above address.
The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record for the second report. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and should be submitted no later than 5:15 p.m. on November 20, 2012. 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 August 8, 2012. Questions about appearances and submissions for both reports should be directed to the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-2000.
USITC 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 House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance. The resulting reports convey the USITC's objective findings and independent analyses on the subject investigated. The USITC makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC 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.