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NEWS RELEASE 98-015; MARCH 26, 1998 March 26, 1998
News Release 98-015
Inv. No. 332-392

ITC SEEKS INPUT FOR INVESTIGATION CONCERNING APEC SECTORAL TRADE LIBERALIZATION

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input from industry officials, trade associations, and other interested parties for a factfinding investigation concerning sectoral trade liberalization among Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum economies.

The investigation, Advice Concerning APEC Sectoral Trade Liberalization (Investigation No. 332-392), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In her request letter, the USTR noted that at the November 1997 Vancouver meeting of APEC ministers, agreement was reached that APEC should continue to act as a catalyst for promoting trade and investment liberalization globally, and a number of sector initiatives were endorsed for early voluntary liberalization. The USTR requested that the ITC investigation focus on those sector initiatives.

As requested, the ITC will provide trade and industry information on nine industry sectors. The information will assist in developing U.S. positions in the ongoing negotiations to reduce barriers affecting trade between the United States and other APEC economies. The nine sectors are: chemicals; environmental goods and services; fish and fish products; forest products; gems and jewelry; medical equipment and instruments; toys; energy equipment and services; and telecommunications equipment.

The ITC report will include profiles of each industry sector (including a description of U.S. and foreign industries and their competitive positions), an assessment of patterns of U.S. sector imports and exports to APEC trading partners and other major trading partners, and information about increased market access opportunities resulting from proposed liberalizations. The report will also summarize U.S. and foreign tariff rates and reported nontariff barriers affecting the nine sectors.

The ITC will submit its report to the USTR by June 16, 1998. The USTR indicated that portions of the ITC report may be classified as "confidential" and considered to be "privileged."

The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with this investigation. The hearing will be held on April 21, 1998, at 9:30 a.m. at the ITC Building, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 15, 1998, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436. For hearing-related information, contact the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-1806.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record in this investigation. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical time but no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 28, 1998. 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 ITC's notice of investigation, dated March 26, 1998, which may be obtained from the ITC Internet server (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or on 202-205-1806.

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