The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is changing the title, scope, and schedule of its recently instituted investigation into the impact of foreign censorship on U.S. businesses. The Commission is also instituting a second investigation related to the same topic.
The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, is making these changes at the request of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, received in a letter on April 7, 2021. (The Committee requested the original investigation on January 4, 2021.)
The Commission’s ongoing investigation, Inv. No. 332-585, is being retitled Foreign Censorship Part 1: Policies and Practices Affecting U.S. Businesses.
As requested, in its first report, the USITC will:
- identify various foreign censorship practices, in particular any examples that U.S. businesses believe impede trade or investment in key foreign markets; and
- provide descriptions that include, to the extent practicable, the evolution of censorship policies and practices over the past five years in key foreign markets; any elements that entail extraterritorial censorship; and the roles of governmental and non-government actors in implementation and enforcement of the practices.
The USITC expects to transmit its first report to the Committee no later than December 30, 2021.
The USITC is instituting a second investigation, Foreign Censorship Part 2: Trade and Economic Effects on U.S. Businesses, Inv. No. 332-586.
As requested, in its second investigation, the USITC will provide an analysis of the trade and economic effects of the policies and practices identified in the first report on affected U.S. businesses and their global operations. The analysis will include the use of survey data and, to the extent practicable, will provide information on the quantitative and qualitative impacts of the identified policies, including (where identifiable):
- impact on employment;
- direct costs (e.g., compliance and entry costs);
- foregone revenue and sales;
- self-censorship; and
- other effects the Commission considers relevant for the Committee to know.
The USITC expects to submit its second report to the Committee by July 5, 2022.
Joint public hearing
The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with both investigations at 9:30 a.m. on July 1, 2021. (This hearing replaces the previously announced September 14, 2021, hearing in connection with 332-585.) Because COVID-19 mitigation measures are in effect, the public hearing will be held via the WebEx videoconference platform. Information about how to participate in the hearing will be posted on the Commission’s website no later than May 27, 2021, at https://usitc.gov/research_and_analysis/what_we_are_working_on.htm.
Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on June 17, 2021, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. See below for important information regarding filing a request to appear at a USITC hearing.
The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary of the Commission. Submissions for the first investigation should be submitted no later than 5:15 p.m. on July 22, 2021. Submissions for the second investigation should be submitted no later than 5:15 p.m. on January 14, 2022.
All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. See below for important information regarding the filing of written submissions for USITC investigations.
IMPORTANT: All filings to appear at the hearing and written submissions must be made through the Commission’s Electronic Document Information System (EDIS, https://edis.usitc.gov). No in-person paper-based filings or paper copies of any electronic filings will be accepted until further notice. Persons with questions regarding electronic filing should contact the Office of the Secretary, Docket Services Division (EDIS3Help@usitc.gov), or consult the Commission’s Handbook on Filing Procedures.
Further information on the scope of the investigations and appropriate submissions is available in the USITC’s notice of investigation, dated May 6, 2021, which can be downloaded from the USITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About these investigations: 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.