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USITC to Investigate How Pesticide Maximum Residue Level Policies Affect International Agricultural Trade

September 24, 2019
News Release 19-093
Inv. No. 332-573
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC to Investigate How Pesticide Maximum Residue Level Policies Affect International Agricultural Trade

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for an investigation on the impact that policies related to maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides have on international agricultural trade.

The investigation, Global Economic Impact of Missing and Low Pesticide Maximum Residue Levels, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on August 30, 2019.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will assess the global economic impact of national policies and regulations related to maximum residue levels (MRLs) for plant protection products. The report will document the challenges exporters face in meeting importing country MRLs, such as when they are lower or missing, and provide quantitative and qualitative information about the effects of such measures.

The report will include information requested in the eight bullets of the request letter. The requests in these bullets include, but are not limited to:

  • an overview of the role of plant protection products and their MRLs in relation to global production, international trade, and food safety for consumers;

  • a description of approaches to setting national and international MRLs;

  • information about how MRLs for plant protection products are developed and administered in major markets;

  • an economic literature review;

  • case studies describing the costs and effects of MRL compliance and non-compliance for producers in foreign countries and the United States; and

  • quantitative and qualitative assessment of the economic effects of MRL-related policies at the national level and for small and medium-sized farms.

The investigation will yield two volumes.  The USITC expects to transmit volume 1 of its report on April 30, 2020, and volume 2 on November 2, 2020, as requested. Both volumes will be released to the public.

The USITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties. The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 a.m. on October 29, 2019. Requests to appear at the public hearing in connection with the investigation should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on October 17, 2019, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington D.C. 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 not later than 5:15 p.m. on December 13, 2019, for volume 1, and 5:15 p.m. on June 5, 2020, for volume 2. 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 September 23, 2019. The notice can be obtained from the USITC Internet site ( or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address 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 report conveys 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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