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USITC Releases Report Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences for Additions, Removals, and Competitive Need Limitation Waivers

June 6, 2017
News Release 17-084
Inv. No. 332-560
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC Releases Report Concerning Possible Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences for Additions, Removals, and Competitive Need Limitation Waivers

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today released a public version of its confidential report on possible modifications to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

The investigation, Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2016 Review, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, submitted a confidential version of the report to the USTR on May 5, 2016. The USTR requested that the USITC issue a public version of the report containing only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information deleted.

As requested, the USITC provided advice on the likely impact on U.S. imports, competing U.S. industries, and U.S. consumers of the addition of the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheadings for all beneficiary developing countries under GSP:

  • 1104.19.90 (Rolled or flaked grains of cereals, other than of barley or oats),
  • 2008.20.00 (Pineapples, otherwise prepared or preserved, nesi),
  • 2915.9018 (Saturated acyclic monocarboxylic acids, nesoi),
  • 3809.93.50 (Finishing agents, dye carriers and other preparations used in leather and like industries, <5% by weight aromatic (mod.) substance(s)),
  • 3192.20.00 (Cellulose nitrates (including collodions, in primary forms)).

* nesoi and nesi – not elsewhere specified or indicated

The USITC also provided advice on the likely impact on U.S. imports, competing U.S. industries, and U.S. consumers of the removal from eligibility of one HTS statistical reporting number for all countries:

  • 2922.49.40.20 (Glycine – part of 2922.49.40, “Amino acids”)

The USITC also provided advice on the likely impact on U.S. imports, U.S. consumers, and competing U.S. industries of competitive need limitation waivers specified in section 503(c)(2)(A) of the Trade Act of 1974 for 4 Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheadings. "Competitive need limits" represent the maximum import level of a product that is eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP. The USITC was requested to use the dollar figure of $175 million for the competitive need limitation. 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. The HTS subheading and specified country for which the USITC provided advice is:

  • 4409.10.05 (Coniferous wood continuously shaped along any of its ends, whether or not also continuously shaped along any {of} its edges or faces) from Brazil.

Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2016 Review (Investigation No. 332-560, USITC publication 4692, May 2017) is available on the USITC's Internet site at https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4692.pdf

USITC general factfinding investigations cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the House Committee on Ways and Means, or the Senate Committee on Finance.  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 USITC 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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