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NEWS RELEASE 01-147; December 17, 2001 December 17, 2001
News Release 01-147

2002 HTS DELAYED TO INCLUDE LATE-YEAR CHANGES

The 2002 edition of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) will be printed later than usual this year so that changes that are expected to become effective in January 2002 can be included, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced today.

An electronic version of the HTS will be maintained on the ITC Internet site, supplemented by information concerning changes as it becomes available, at www.usitc.gov/taffairs.htm.

Two Presidential proclamations will have a significant impact on the document, which sets forth the tariff and statistical categories and rates of duty applicable to all imported merchandise. The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, quasi-judicial agency, updates and publishes the HTS annually, and it posts interim updates throughout the year on its Internet site.

The first proclamation, signed by President Bush on December 7, 2001, implements the United States' new free trade agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Under the agreement, the United States committed to eliminate customs duties on many Jordanian products and to provide staged reductions in other duties over varying periods ranging up to 10 years. The first stage of the negotiated duty reductions will be effective on December 17, 2001, and the second stage will be effective on January 1, 2002. Information concerning the first stage of duty reductions and legal and other provisions of immediate interest to importers has been posted on the ITC Internet site. Information concerning the second stage will be included in the electronic version of the entire 2002 HTS, which will be posted to the web site when completed.

The second proclamation, when signed by the President as expected, will likely be effective in early January 2002. In 1999, the World Customs Organization adopted amendments in the nomenclature of the global Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), on which the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule is based. At the international level, these amendments are to enter into force on January 1, 2002. The second proclamation will incorporate those amendments into the U.S. tariff schedule. Most chapters of the HTS are affected by these changes, so the ITC will delay the printing of the 2002 HTS to include them.

When the second proclamation becomes effective, the ITC will post a new version of the HTS to its Internet site. This version will include all changes to the HTS that have become effective since the printing of the supplement to the 2001 edition, including legislation, proclamations, notices, and statistical modifications. This edition will be forwarded to the Government Printing Office for printing as the 2002 edition of the HTS.

Questions concerning the HTS and pending changes can be directed to the ITC's Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements at 202-205-2592. An e-mail directory of staff in this office is available at www.usitc.gov/taffairs.htm.

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