February 14, 2001
News Release 01-023
Inv. No. 332-427

ITC WILL MONITOR CERTAIN WOOL IMPORTS

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will monitor U.S. market conditions for certain wool products that will benefit from temporary tariff reductions for the next three years.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will conduct the investigation, U.S. Market Conditions for Certain Wool Articles (Investigation No. 332-427), at the request of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

In its request letter, the USTR noted that the Trade and Development Act of 2000 temporarily reduces tariffs and establishes tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for imports of certain worsted wool fabric that is used in men's or boys' suits, suit-type jackets, and trousers. The TRQs will be in effect for three years and may be modified by the President if certain market conditions develop. The Act requires the President to monitor domestic demand for, supply of, and production of men's and boys' worsted wool suits, suit-type jackets, and trousers; worsted wool fabric and yarn used in the manufacture of such clothing; and wool fibers used in the manufacture of such fabrics and yarns. The USTR subsequently requested that the ITC launch an investigation to conduct the monitoring and provide additional data in a series of three submissions (two reports and an interim letter).

As requested, in each submission, the ITC will provide the data noted above. The agency will also report on increases or decreases in sales and production of the domestically produced worsted wool fabrics specified; increases or decreases in domestic production and consumption of the specified apparel items; the ability of domestic producers of the worsted wool fabrics being monitored to meet the needs of domestic manufacturers of the specified apparel items in terms of quantity and ability to meet market demands for the apparel items; sales of the specified worsted wool fabrics lost by domestic manufacturers to imports benefitting from the temporary duty reductions on certain worsted wool fabrics; lost sales by domestic manufacturers of the specified apparel items due to their inability to purchase adequate supplies of the specified wool fabrics on a cost competitive basis; and the price per square meter of imports and domestic sales of the specified worsted wool fabrics.

The ITC will submit its first report, providing data for 1999, 2000, and year-to-date 2001 and comparable year-to-date 2000, to USTR by September 17, 2001. The second report, providing data for 2001 and year-to-date 2002 and comparable year-to-date 2001, will be submitted by September 16, 2002. In addition, the ITC will submit a letter with the most comprehensive information available on the factors being monitored, covering January 1, 1999, through the present time, within 45 days after the U.S. Department of Commerce publishes a Federal Register notice soliciting requests from U.S. manufacturers of worsted wool suits, worsted wool suit-type jackets, and worsted wool trousers to modify the limitations on the quantity of imports of fabrics of worsted wool under the TRQ established by the Act. Public versions of these reports and the "45-day interim letter" will be made available as soon as possible after submission to the USTR.

The ITC is now seeking input for the "45-day interim letter" and for the first report from all interested parties. The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the first report on May 31, 2001, 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 May 17, 2001, 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 statements (one original and 14 copies) should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 7, 2001, for the "interim letter" and 5:15 p.m. on June 7, 2001, for the first report. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

Further information on the scope of this investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated February 13, 2001, which may be obtained from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at the above address or at 202-205-1806.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade. The investigations are generally conducted at the request of USTR, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means; the ITC may also self-initiate investigations. 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 ITC 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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