Trade Policy Staff Committee; Notice of Availability and Request for Public Comment on Interim Environmental Review of United States-Andean Free Trade Agreement
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), on behalf of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), seeks comment on the interim environmental review of the proposed U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The interim environmental review is available at http://www.ustr.gov/TradeSectors/Environment/EnvironmentalRev iews/ SectionIndex.html. Copies of the review will also be sent to interested members of the public by mail upon request.
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP): Notice Regarding Products in the 2004 Annual Review
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) received petitions in 2004 to modify the list of products that are eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP program and to modify the GSP status of certain GSP beneficiary developing countries because of country practices. The list of country practice petitions accepted for review will be announced in the Federal Register at a later date. This notice announces the product petitions that are accepted for further review in the 2004 GSP Annual Review, and sets forth the schedule for comment and public hearing on these petitions, for requesting participation in the hearing, and for submitting pre-hearing and post-hearing briefs.
Notice of Change to U.S. Note 2(d) to Subchapter XIX of Chapter 98 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Section 2004(k) of the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2004, Public Law 108-429, designated Mauritius as eligible for certain additional benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for one year, beginning October 1, 2004. This notice modifies the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) to reflect this designation.
WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding United States-Continued Suspension of Obligations in the EC-Hormones Dispute
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (``USTR'') is providing notice that on January 13, 2005, the United States received from the European Communities (``EC'') a request for the establishment of a panel under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (``WTO Agreement'') regarding the U.S. suspension of obligations to the EC in the WTO dispute European CommunitiesMeasures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones). The EC asserts that it has put into force new legislation that brings it into conformity with the recommendations and rulings of the Dispute Settlement Body (``DSB'') and its obligations under the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (``SPS Agreement''). The EC therefore challenges the continued U.S. suspension of obligations and imposition of import duties in excess of bound rates on imports from the EC, the alleged U.S. ``unilateral determination'' that the new EC legislation is in violation of the EC's WTO obligations, and the alleged U.S. failure to have recourse to WTO dispute settlement proceedings. In particular, the EC asserts that by failing to discontinue suspension of obligations to the EC, the United States has breached its obligations under Articles I and II of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (``GATT 1994'') and Articles 3.7, 21.5, 22.8 and 23.2(a) and (c) of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (``DSU''). USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.
Notice of Meeting of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Automotive Equipment and Capitol Goods (ITAC-2)
The Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Automotive Equipment and Capitol Goods (ITAC-2) will hold a meeting on Wednesday, March 16, 2005, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The meeting will be closed to the public from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and opened to the public from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding Final Countervailing Duty Determination With Respect to Certain Softwood Lumber From Canada
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is providing notice that on January 14, 2005, at the request of Canada, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) established a dispute settlement panel under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO. The panel is to examine whether the United States has implemented the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in a dispute involving a U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) countervailing duty investigation of certain softwood lumber products from Canada. On February 17, 2004, the DSB adopted its findings in that dispute, which rejected most of Canada's claims but found that, consistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), Commerce should have conducted an analysis of whether subsidies ``pass through'' from certain producers to others with respect to certain log sales. In response to the DSB's recommendations and rulings, Commerce conducted a pass-through analysis and issued a new determination revising the subsidy rate for the investigation from 18.79% to 18.62%. Canada subsequently requested the establishment of a dispute settlement panel, alleging that the United States had failed to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings. The panel was established on January 14, 2005. USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.
Notice of Entry Into Force of Trade Agreement With the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Grant of Normal Trade Relations Treatment to Products of Laos
On September 18, 2003, the United States and the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) signed a trade agreement obligating reciprocal most-favored-nation treatment between Laos and the United States. The trade agreement entered into force as of February 4, 2005, the effective date of this notice, after which time all products of Laos entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, shall be granted most-favored-nation treatment by the United States.
Notice of List of Products Subject to Possible Withdrawal of Concessions in Response to European Union (EU) Changes to Its Rice Import Regime
In response to the European Union's changes to its rice import regime, the United States has notified the World Trade Organization of its intent to withdraw concessions by March 1, 2005, with respect to the goods in the attached list. Background: In Federal Register notices 04-20543, dated September 10, 2004, 04-21762 and dated September 28, 2004, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative sought comments concerning a list of goods for which tariff concessions may be withdrawn and duties may be increased in the event the United States cannot reach agreement with the European Union (EU) for adequate compensation owed under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules as a result of EU changes to its rice import regime. While the United States Government has actively sought a negotiated resolution of this issue, which would have alleviated the need to withdraw concessions, an agreement has not been reached. Therefore, in accordance with WTO rules, the United States has notified the WTO that it will withdraw substantially equivalent tariff concessions if an agreement is not reached before March 1. This notice provides the list of goods notified to the WTO on Friday, January 28, 2005. Whenever a foreign country withdraws, suspends, or modifies the application of trade agreement obligations of benefit to the United States without granting adequate compensation, the President is authorized under section 125(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2135) to proclaim such increased duties or other import restrictions as are appropriate to effect adequate compensation. In the event that the United States withdraws substantially equivalent tariff concessions on March 1, increases in the duties applied to the goods included in the list notified to the WTO would be effected pursuant to this authority.
Request for Public Comment Regarding Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) Beneficiary Countries
In compliance with section 203(f) of the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) (19 U.S.C. 3201), as amended by the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act , the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is requesting the views of interested parties on whether the countries designated as ATPA beneficiary countries in Presidential Proclamation 7616 of October 31, 2002, are meeting the eligibility criteria provided for in section 204(b)(6)(B) of the ATPA. This information will be used in the preparation of a report to the U.S. Congress on the operation of the program.
Identification of Countries Under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974: Extension of Deadline for Public Comment on Out-of-Cycle Review of the People's Republic of China
This notice extends by two weeks the deadline for the submission of comments in the Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of the People's Republic of China (China) under section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act) (19 U.S.C. 2242), commonly referred to as the ``Special 301'' provision of the Trade Act.
Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), as Amended: Notice Regarding the 2003 and 2004 Annual Reviews
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) received petitions in September 2004 to review certain practices in certain beneficiary developing countries to determine whether such countries are in compliance with the ATPA eligibility criteria. In a November 15, 2004 notice, USTR published a list of responsive petitions that were accepted for review. This notice specifies the results of the preliminary review of those petitions as well as the status of the petitions filed in 2003 that have remained under review.
Trade Policy Staff Committee: Public Comments Regarding the Environmental Review of the WTO DOHA Development Agenda (DDA) Negotiations
The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is requesting written public comments on the scope of the environmental review of the multilateral negotiations of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) conducted under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The TPSC is seeking to supplement and further inform its consideration of reasonably foreseeable significant environmental effects that might flow from economic changes attributable to the negotiations, in the light of progress to date in the negotiations, notably, the Decision Adopted by the WTO General Council on 1 August 2004 on the Doha Work Program.
Identification of Countries Under Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974: Request for Public Comment
Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act) (19 U.S.C. 2242), requires the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. (Section 182 is commonly referred to as the ``Special 301'' provision of the Trade Act.) In addition, USTR is required to determine which of those countries should be identified as Priority Foreign Countries. Acts, policies, or practices that are the basis of a country's identification as a priority foreign country are normally the subject of an investigation under the Section 301 provisions of the Trade Act. Section 182 of the Trade Act contains a special rule for the identification of actions by Canada affecting United States cultural industries. USTR requests written submissions from the public concerning foreign countries' acts, policies, and practices that are relevant to the decision whether to identify particular trading partners under Section 182 of the Trade Act.
WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding Section 776 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and Antidumping Duty Investigation on Stainless Steel Bar From the United Kingdom
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (``USTR'') is providing notice that the European Communities (``EC'') has requested dispute settlement consultations under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (``WTO Agreement'') regarding the U.S. antidumping duty (``AD'') investigation on stainless steel bar from the United Kingdom. That request may be found at http:// www.wto.org contained in a document designated as WT/DS319/1. USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.
WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding the American JOBS Creation Act of 2004
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (``USTR'') is providing notice that the European Communities has requested dispute settlement consultations under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (``WTO Agreement''). That request may be found at http://www.wto.org contained in a document designated as WT/DS108/27. USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.