December 8, 2004
News Release 04-126
Inv. No. 332-464

ITC LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION ON THE EXPORT POTENTIAL OF, AND TRADE BARRIERS FACED BY, AGOA-ELIGIBLE SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRIES

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation into the export potential of, and trade barriers faced by, sub-Saharan African countries eligible for trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The investigation, Export Opportunities and Barriers in African Growth and Opportunity Act-Eligible Countries (Inv. No. 332-464), was requested by the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

As requested by USTR, the ITC will identify, with respect to each of the AGOA-eligible sub-Saharan countries, the major economic sectors with the greatest potential for growth in export sales and domestic and international barriers that impede trade growth in such sectors. In addition, should the project team in the course of its research uncover information on private sector initiatives and technical assistance programs that attempt to address such barriers, such information will be included in the Commission's report.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, expects to submit its report to USTR by June 30, 2005. A public version will be released as soon as possible thereafter.

The ITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the issues for which the ITC is requested to provide information and advice. The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on Tuesday, March 1, 2005. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 14, 2005, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. For further information, call 202-205-1806.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address. Prehearing briefs should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 16, 2005. Posthearing briefs should be filed with the Secretary no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 11, 2005.

Further information on the scope of the investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, dated December 8, 2004, which can be downloaded from the ITC Internet site (http://www.usitc.gov) or may be obtained 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 and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. 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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