USITC Begins Investigation Concerning Possible Modifications To The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences For Removals, Competitive Need Limitation Waivers, and Redesignations

June 7, 2019
News Release 19-046
Inv. No. 332-572
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC Begins Investigation Concerning Possible Modifications To The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences For Removals, Competitive Need Limitation Waivers, and Redesignations

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, 2018 Review, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on June 4, 2019.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will 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:

  • 3907.61.00 (Polyethylene terephthalate, having a viscosity number of 78 ml/g or higher) from Pakistan,
  • 3907.69.00 (Polyethylene terephthalate, having a viscosity number less than 78 ml/g) from Pakistan.

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 two HTS subheadings for certain GSP 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 $185 million. The HTS subheadings in consideration are:

  • 3823.11.00 (Stearic acid) from Indonesia,
  • 9001.50.00 (Spectacle lenses of materials other than glass, unmounted) from Thailand.

Finally, the USTR 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 of four HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries. 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. The HTS subheading in consideration is:

  • 0603.13.00 (Orchids, fresh cut) from Thailand,
  • 4412.10.05 (Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood, of bamboo) from Indonesia,
  • 4412.31.4155 (Plywood sheets n/o 6mm thick, with specified tropical wood outer ply, with face ply nesoi, not surface covered beyond clear/transparent) from Indonesia.
  • 4418.73.40 (Assembled flooring panels of bamboo, other than for mosaic, multilayer,  having a face ply more than 6mm in thickness) from Indonesia.

The USITC will submit its confidential report to USTR by September 7, 2019. 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 July 2, 2019. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on June 18, 2019, 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 July 8, 2019.  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 June 7, 2019. 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 fact finding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the USITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General fact finding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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