January 23, 2009
News Release 09-007
Inv. No. 332-506
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation concerning possible modifications to the Generalized System of Preferences.

The investigation, Advice Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, 2008 Review of Competitive Need Limit Waivers (Investigation No. 332-506), was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

As requested, the ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice as to the impact of granting a waiver of the competitive need limits for Argentina for certain full grain unsplit bovine and equine leather (HTS subheading 4107.91.80) and for calcium silicon ferroalloys (HTS subheading 7202.99.20); for Brazil for lysine (HTS subheading 2922.41.00); for India for high-carbon ferrochromium (HTS subheading 7202.41.00); for Indonesia for PET resin (HTS subheading 3907.60.00); and for Turkey for stranded copper wire (HTS subheading 7413.00.10).

"Competitive need limits" represent the maximum import level of a product that is eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP. Once the limit is reached, trade is considered "competitive," benefits are no longer needed, and imports of the article become ineligible for GSP treatment, unless a waiver is granted. With respect to the competitive need limit in section 503(c)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the 1974 Act, the Commission, as requested, will use the dollar value limit of $135 million.

The USTR is expected to publish full article descriptions of the items under investigation in the Federal Register.

The ITC will submit its confidential report to USTR by April 13, 2009. As soon as possible thereafter, as requested by USTR, the ITC will issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information and classified information deleted.

The ITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information focus on the articles for which the ITC is requested to provide information and advice. The ITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 a.m. on February 27, 2009. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on February 4, 2009, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

The ITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on March 6, 2009.

Further details on this investigation can be found in the ITC's notice of investigation, which can be accessed on the ITC website at www.usitc.gov.

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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