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Duty-free, quota-free imports?

Industry News | August 1, 2011 | By:

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an investigation to assess the probable economic effect of allowing products from the world’s least-developed countries (LDCs) to enter the United States free of all duties and quotas. The investigation, “Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty-Free, Quota-Free Treatment for Imports from Least-Developed Countries, 2012 Report,” was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter dated June 16, 2011.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, fact-finding federal agency, will provide advice to the USTR as to the probable economic effect of providing duty-free, quota-free treatment for imports from LDCs on industries in the United States producing like or directly competitive products, consumers, imports under U.S. preference programs, and imports from U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) partners. The investigation will cover each article in chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States for which U.S. tariffs or tariff-rate quotas remain, taking into account preferential tariff treatments currently being provided. The USITC’s advice will be based on 2010 HTS nomenclature, trade and tariff rate data. The USITC will also, to the extent possible, evaluate the articles in chapters 50 through 63 of the HTS to identify products not currently imported from LDCs for which imports could potentially increase, and the possible effect of trade diversion on U.S. imports from countries with which the United States has FTAs or preferential trade programs, including countries to which the United States is a major exporter of yarns and fabrics.

The USITC expects to submit its confidential report to the USTR by February 16, 2012. No public hearings will be held, but written submissions for the record are welcomed. One original and 14 copies should be addressed to the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, no later than 5:15 p.m. on September 16, 2011. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection.

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