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USITC Releases Report Concerning Proposed Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences

September 24, 2019
News Release 19-094
Inv. No. 332-572
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
USITC Releases Report Concerning Proposed Modifications to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences

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, 2018 Review (Investigation No. 332-572), 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 September 9, 2019. The public version released today contains only the unclassified sections, with any business confidential information deleted.

As requested, the USITC provided advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the removal from eligibility of two HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries.

The removals in consideration are:

  • 3907.61.00 (Polyethylene terephthalate, having a viscosity number of 78 ml/g or higher) from Pakistan,
  • 3907.69.00 (Polyethylene terephthalate, having a viscosity number less than 78 ml/g) from Pakistan.

In addition, the USITC provided advice on whether any industry in the United States is likely to be adversely affected by competitive need limitation waivers for two HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries and advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, as well as on consumers, of the requested waivers. The USITC also provided advice as to whether a like or directly competitive article was produced in the United States in any of the preceding three calendar years for these articles. "Competitive need limitations" 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 USITC, as requested, will use the dollar value limit of $185 million. The HTS subheadings in consideration are:

  • 3823.11.00 (Stearic acid) from Indonesia,
  • 9001.50.00 (Spectacle lenses of materials other than glass, unmounted) from Thailand.

Finally, the USITC provided advice as to the probable economic effect on U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the redesignation of three HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries. The USITC also provided advice as to whether a like or directly competitive article was produced in the United States in any of the preceding three calendar years for these articles. The HTS subheadings in consideration are:

  • 0603.13.00 (Orchids, fresh cut) from Thailand,
  • 4412.10.05 (Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood, of bamboo) from Indonesia,
  • 4412.31.4155 (Plywood sheets n/o 6mm thick, with specified tropical wood outer ply, with face ply nesoi, not surface covered beyond clear/transparent) from Indonesia.

Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2018 Review (Investigation No. 332-572, USITC publication 4972, September 2019) is available on the USITC's Internet site at https://www.usitc.gov/sites/default/files/publications/332/pub4972.pdf

USITC 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 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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