USITC Begins Investigation Concerning Possible Modification to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences

May 23, 2018
News Release 18-060
Inv. No. 332-567
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC Begins Investigation Concerning Possible Modification to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences

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

The investigation, Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2017 Review (Investigation No. 332-567), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on May 18, 2018.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice as to the probable economic effect on U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the addition of the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheadings to the list of GSP-eligible products:

For all GSP beneficiary developing countries: 

  • 0808.30.40 (Pears, fresh, if entered during the period from July 1 through the following March 31, inclusive),
  • 0814.00.80 (Peel of citrus fruit, excl. orange or citron and peel, nesi, of melon, fresh, frozen, dried or provisionally preserved),
  • 1207.29.00 (Cotton seeds, whether or not broken, other than seed for sowing),
  • 1512.11.00 (Sunflower-seed or safflower oil, crude, and their fractions, whether or not refined, not chemically modified),
  • 2008.99.05 (Apples, otherwise prepared or preserved, nesi),
  • 2918.99.05 (p-Anisic acid; clofibrate and 3-phenoxybenzoic acid),
  • 2918.99.43 (Aromatic carboxylic acids with additional oxygen function and their anhydrides, halide, etc deriv described in add US note 3 to sect VI, nesoi),
  • 2918.99.47 (Other aromatic carboxylic acids with additional oxygen function and their anhydrides, halide, etc deriv (excluding goods in add US note 3 to sec VI)),
  • 4010.33.30 (Transmission V-belts of vulcanized rubber, V-ribbed, circumference exceeding 180 cm but not exceeding 240 cm, combined with textile materials).

The USTR also requested that the USITC provide advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the removal from eligibility of two HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries.  

The removals in consideration are:

  • 2009.89.6011 and 2009.89.6019 (Cherry juice – Part of 2009.89.60 “Juice of any other single fruit, nesoi”) from Turkey,
  • 3920.51.50 (Nonadhesive plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, noncellular, not combined with other materials, of polymethyl methacrylate, not flexible) from Indonesia and Thailand.

The USTR also requested that the USITC provide advice on whether any industry in the United States is likely to be adversely affected by competitive need limitation waivers for certain countries and advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, as well as on consumers, of the requested waivers. The USITC will also provide advice as to whether a like or directly competitive article was produced in the United States in any of the preceding three calendar years for these articles. "Competitive need limitations" 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 USITC, as requested, will use the dollar value limit of $180 million. The HTS subheadings in consideration are:

  • 0410.00.00 (Edible products of animal origin, nesi) from Indonesia,
  • 2836.91.00 (Lithium carbonates) from Argentina,
  • 3301.13.00 (Essential oils of lemon) from Argentina,
  • 6802.99.00 (Monumental or building stone & arts. thereof, nesoi, further worked than simply cut/sawn, nesoi) from Brazil),
  • 7202.50.00 (Ferrosilicon chromium) from Kazakhstan.

The USTR also requested that the USITC provide advice as to the probable economic effect  on U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the redesignation for certain countries of the following HTS subheadings:

  • 2007.99.48 (Apple, quince and pear pastes and purees, being cooked preparations) from Argentina,
  • 2306.30.00 (Oilcake and other solid residues, resulting from the extraction of vegetable fats or oils, of sunflower seeds) from Argentina,
  • 2841.90.20 (Ammonium perrhenate) from Kazakhstan,
  • 2909.50.40 (Odoriferous or flavoring compounds of ether-phenols, ether-alcohol-phenols & their halogenated, sulfonated, nitrated, nitrosated derivatives) from Indonesia,
  • 4107.11.80 (Full grain unsplit whole bovine (not buffalo) nesoi and equine leather nesoi, w/o hair, prepared after tanning or crusting, fancy, not 4114) from Argentina,
  • 6802.93.00 (Monumental or building stone & arts. thereof, of granite, further worked than simply cut/sawn, nesoi) from India,
  • 7202.93.80 (Ferroniobium, nesoi) from Brazil.

In addition, the USTR requested that USITC provide advice as to the probable economic effect on U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the redesignation of an article for one country. The USITC will also provide advice as to whether a like or directly competitive article was produced in the United States in any of the preceding three calendar years for this article. The HTS subheading in consideration is:

  • 4412.31.41 including 4412.31.4150 and 4412.31.4160 (Plywood sheets n/o 6mm thick, with specified tropical wood outer ply, with face ply nesoi, not surface covered beyond clear/transparent) from Indonesia.

Finally, the USTR requested that the USITC provide advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers, of the denial of a de minimis competitive need limitation waiver for one article from a GSP beneficiary country. The USITC will also provide advice as to whether a like or directly competitive article was produced in the United States in any of the preceding three calendar years for this article. The HTS subheading in consideration is:

  • 3802.90.10 (Bone black) from Brazil.

The USITC will submit its confidential report to USTR by September 7, 2018. As soon as possible thereafter, the USITC will, as requested by USTR, issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information and classified information deleted.

The USITC is seeking input for this investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the articles for which the USITC is requested to provide information and advice. The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 a.m. on June 14, 2018. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on June 4, 2018, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

The USITC 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 June 21, 2018.  All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

Further information on the scope of this investigation and appropriate submissions appears in the USITC’s notice of investigation, dated on May 23, 2018. The notice can be obtained from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or 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 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 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.

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