April 18, 2005
News Release 05-041
Inv. No. Morocco FTA-103-11
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819

ITC WILL REPORT ON PROBABLE EFFECT OF CHANGES TO THE U.S.-MOROCCO FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today launched an investigation to determine the probable effect of modifications to the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, is conducting the investigation at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The investigation, Effect of Modifications to the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (Inv. No. Morocco FTA-103-11), will identify any changes in previous ITC advice concerning the impact of the U.S.-Morocco FTA.

Legislation implementing the U.S.-Morocco FTA was enacted on August 17, 2004. As required by the Trade Act of 2002, the ITC had submitted advice concerning the likely impact of the agreement to the USTR and the Congress in June 2004.

The original agreement was based on the assumption that it would enter into force on January 1, 2005. Since then, the United States and Morocco have agreed to amend the agreement, delaying its entry into force until July 1, 2005. The first stage of negotiated tariff reductions and related measures will become effective on that date, with the second stage starting on January 1, 2006. In addition, the agreement will be amended so that the in-quota quantities of the tariff-rate quotas for agricultural and apparel goods and the quantities of textile and apparel goods that receive preferential tariff treatment, as set out in the agreement, will be reduced by 50 percent for the period July 1, 2005, through December 31, 2005, after which the previously agreed treatment would be accorded. The United States and Morocco will exchange letters to modify the agreement; no other amendments to the agreement will be made, according to the USTR.

As requested by the USTR, the ITC will submit its advice by April 28, 2005.

The ITC seeks input for its investigation from interested parties. No public hearing will be held in connection with the investigation, but the Commission welcomes written submissions for the record. In view of the short amount of time that the ITC has to provide its advice, written statements should be submitted at the earliest practical date and no later than 5:15 p.m. on April 25, 2005. The Commission will consider submissions received by that date. In addition, the Commission will transmit with its report to the President a copy of all written submissions received as well as submissions received between that date and 5:15 p.m. on April 27, 2005.

Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Further information concerning submissions may be obtained from the ITC's notice of institution dated April 18, 2005, or by calling 202-205-1802. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

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