The investigation, U.S.-Israel Agricultural Trade: Probable Economic Effect on U.S. and Israeli Agricultural Industries of Conducting Such Trade in a Free Trade Environment, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on October 23, 2007.
In her letter, the USTR noted that in January 2008, the U.S. and Israeli governments will initiate discussion of the United States-Israel Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products (ATAP) to seek ways to improve the ATAP prior to its expiration on December 31, 2008. The ATAP is an adjunct to the Agreement on the Establishment of a Free Trade Area between the Government of Israel and the Government of the United States of America (FTA), which was implemented in 1985 and applies to trade in all products between the two countries. However, she said that the United States and Israel have held differing views as to the meaning of certain rights and obligations related to agricultural products under the FTA. The ATAP was intended to address issues that have arisen based on these differing interpretations. The USTR also noted that, following the implementation of the 1985 FTA, most Israeli agricultural products exported to the United States had duty-free access to the U.S. market. U.S. exporters of agricultural products, however, have faced significant market access barriers in Israel despite the ATAP. An objective of the proposed negotiations regarding the ATAP is to address these barriers.
As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide:
The ITC will submit its report, portions of which will be confidential, to the USTR by April 23, 2008.
The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 a.m. on January 10, 2008. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed with the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, and must be received no later than 5:15 p.m. on December 21, 2007.
The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions (one original and 14 copies) should be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, at the above address and should be filed at the earliest practical date, but no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 1, 2008. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.
Further information on the scope of this investigation and appropriate submissions is available in the ITC's notice of investigation, November 21, 2007, which may be obtained from the ITC Internet site (www.usitc.gov) or by contacting the Office of the Secretary at 202-205-2000.
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 subject 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 investigations reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.