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President Obama Proclaims World Trade Week 2009

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of President Obama’s proclamation of the week of May 17-23, 2009 as World Trade Week. Noting the opportunity World Trade Week presents to reaffirm trade’s benefits and the United States’ commitment to the “global marketplace that creates good jobs and lifts up American families,” the President stated thatIn difficult economic times, it is even more important for American industry to take advantage of every opportunity for export-driven growth.” Stating that his Administration “… will negotiate future trade agreements to create opportunities for all Americans,” he added that the USG “is committed to building on existing trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties in an open and transparent manner.” The Administration is developing a plan of action for pending free trade agreements and is working with U.S. trading partners “to advance a strong market-opening agreement for agriculture, industrial goods, and services through the Doha Development Round and through other negotiations.”



USTR Kirk Welcomes Senate Confirmation of Demetrios Marantis as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative
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of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s May 6 statement welcoming the Senate’s confirmation of Demetrios Marantis as Deputy United States Trade Representative. Marantis will be responsible for U.S. trade negotiations and enforcement in Asia and Africa. He will also lead USTR global initiatives on trade and development, labor, and the environment. Marantis has extensive trade policy experience. He served most recently as the Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, advising Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and other members of the Committee on trade and economic issues, and previously served at USTR as Associate General Counsel, responsible for provisions in the U.S.-Singapore and U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreements.




United States and EU Reach Provisional Agreement in Beef Dispute


On May 6, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton agreed in principle on a way forward in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef.  The agreement in principle would provide additional duty-free access to the EU market for high-quality beef produced from cattle that have not been treated with growth-promoting hormones – 20,000 tons in the first three years and increasing to 45,000 tons beginning in the fourth year.  Under the agreement, the United States will maintain existing sanctions and will not impose new sanctions on EU products during the initial three-year period, and will eliminate all sanctions during the fourth year.  The two sides will refrain from further litigation at the WTO regarding the EU’s ban on beef treated with certain growth-promoting hormones for at least 18 months.  Before the end of the four-year period, the two sides will seek to conclude a longer-term agreement.

View USTR press release


United States-Japan Statement on Kirk - Nikai Meeting
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regarding U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s meeting with Japan Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Toshihiro Nikai on May 4 to discuss a variety of bilateral and multilateral trade-related issues. They agreed that all countries should remain vigilant about their responses to the current financial and economic crisis and reaffirmed that protectionism must be avoided, and agreed to work together closely to achieve a successful Doha Development Round that is both ambitious and balanced. Kirk and Nikai reaffirmed their joint view, shared by other interested countries, on the need for China to withdraw the implementation of its certification rules for government procurement of 13 IT security products -- rules which are inconsistent with international norms.


USTR Releases 2009 Special 301 Report


USTR released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection by U.S. trading partners on April 30. Significant developments in this year’s Special 301 Report include Canada’s elevation to the Priority Watch List for the first time, as well as the elevation of Algeria and Indonesia. As it did last year, the report highlights the prominence of IPR concerns with respect to China (which is included on the Priority Watch List) and Russia, despite some evidence of improvement in both countries.

Of the 77 trading partners reviewed for this year’s list, 12 countries were placed on the Priority Watch List: China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand, and Venezuela. These countries do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection. Thirty-three (33) trading partners are on the lower level Watch List, meriting bilateral attention to address the underlying IPR problems. Paraguay will continue to be monitored under Section 306 monitoring under a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that establishes objectives and actions for addressing IPR concerns in that country. The Administration will conduct Out-of-Cycle Reviews for Fiji, Israel, the Philippines, Poland, and Saudi Arabia to monitor progress on specific IPR issues.
View USTR press release


USTR Kirk’s Statement on WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy’s Reappointment
View the text of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s statement
welcoming the re-appointment of Pascal Lamy to a second four-year term as WTO director-general. Kirk commented that Lamy’s reappointment will provide “welcome and much-needed continuity at the WTO.” The United States, he said, is looking forward to working with Lamy and other WTO members to grow opportunities “… in a rules-based trading system that works for Americans … and produces new and tangible benefits in which all WTO Members can share.”


Secretary Locke Discusses Trade Promotion Agreement with Colombian Minister for Trade

On May 1, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held his initial meeting with Colombia Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata. During their meeting, Secretary Locke and Minister Plata reaffirmed their governments’ commitmentto move forward on progress towards the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The two leaders also underscored the importance of building stronger business ties through activities like joint cooperation in trade capacity-building for small- and medium-sized enterprises and good governance programs.
View Commerce press release


Ambassador Kirk’s Statement on China’s Action to Modify Information Security Testing Rules

View the text of USTR Kirk’s April 29 statement
welcoming China’s announcement that it has eliminated Information Security testing and certification mandates for information technology products used in the commercial marketplace. He called China’s action “a step in the right direction, reflecting its acknowledgement that mandated information security certification schemes rules are not appropriate for commercial information technology products.” At the same time, Kirk said the Administration “remain(s) very concerned about China’s plans to mandate on May 1, 2010 the information security testing and certification rules for products procured by China’s government in a manner not consistent with global norms.”


Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with China’s Minister of Commerce
On April 27, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held his first meeting with China Minister of Commerce Chen Deming at the Commerce Department. During their meeting, Secretary Locke and Minister Chen reaffirmed the commitment of both governments to continuing to build a positive and cooperative relationship that strengthens trade and creates jobs in the United States and China. The two leaders underscored the importance of achieving concrete results at the next meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and discussed issues such as increasing U.S. exports to China and the need to avoid protectionism.
View Commerce press release


United States and Peru Discuss Implementation of TPA

Environmental Commitments

U.S. and Peru representatives met April 13-17 in Peru to continue their discussions on the Forest Sector (Logging) Annex to the Environment Chapter of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). The U.S. delegation, led by USTR, held meetings with GOP entities and Regional governments responsible for implementing the PTPA’s commitments under the Annex. In addition, both the U.S. and Peru delegations held their first-ever joint open forum with civil society, including the private sector and non-governmental organizations, to discuss progress made to date and address concerns related to the implementation process. USTR continues to work closely with the Government of Peru to ensure that the environmental obligations under the PTPA are successfully implemented in a transparent manner. The United States looks forward to hosting the next meeting between civil society and government officials from both countries in Washington, D.C. in June.

View USTR press release


Secretary Locke’s Statement on World Intellectual Property Day
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released by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on World Intellectual Property Day. Noting the toll that counterfeiting and piracy are taking on American industry and workers, “costing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year,” the Secretary stated, “The Department of Commerce is working to combat this problem through trade agreement compliance, active engagement with foreign leaders, and educational outreach.”


U.S. Trade Representative Kirk Announces Delay of Trade Action in Beef Hormones Dispute


On April 22, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that due to recent signs of progress in negotiations with the EU, the United States is delaying the imposition of additional duties on a modified list of EU products in connection with WTO dispute settlement rulings in the EU – Beef Hormones dispute.  Under a determination announced on January 15, 2009, the additional duties were to go into effect on April 23, 2009. Ambassador Kirk announced that the United States will delay the trade action until May 9, to provide a little more time to negotiate a settlement with the EU. He stated, “The EU has demonstrated seriousness in their efforts to solve this problem, and two additional weeks should be sufficient to establish whether we can address the remaining issues successfully.”

View USTR press release





Commerce Secretary Locke Addresses Motion Picture Summit

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke discussed the motion picture industry’s importance to the U.S. economy at the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) Second Biennial Industry Summit on April 21. “Movies and TV shows are direct products of the freedoms we enjoy; that’s part of why they’re so popular around the world,” Locke said. “The Obama administration is well aware of the impact of counterfeiting and piracy on our industries and workers, and we’re working to combat it.” The Secretary commented on the increasing importance of the international market for the film and television industry, noting that approximately 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders.

View Commerce press release


United States and Mauritius Strengthen Cooperation on Trade and Investment

View the text of the USTR press release regarding the April 21 meeting of U.S. and Mauritian officials to review progress in implementing a workplan developed under the United States – Mauritius Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). This was the third meeting of the high-level TIFA Council created under the 2006 agreement. Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa Florizelle Liser and Mauritian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade Arvind Boolell co-led the discussions, which focused on cooperation in the WTO, implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, export diversification, trade and investment promotion, and economic development.


United States and Rwanda Review Progress on Bilateral Trade and Investment

On April 16, U.S. and Rwandan officials met in Kigali to review progress in deepening their partnership on trade and investment under the United States-Rwanda Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. This was the third meeting of the United State-Rwanda TIFA Council, which provides a high-level forum for advancing cooperation on bilateral trade and investment issues. Assistant USTR for Africa Florizelle Liser and Rwandan Trade and Industry Minister Monique Nsanzabaganwa co-chaired the meeting, which examined the two governments’ work together on implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, cooperation in the WTO, trade capacity building, export diversification, trade and investment promotion, and infrastructure issues. Discussions under the TIFA led to negotiations on a United States-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty, which was signed in February 2008. Several leading U.S. companies are currently examining possible investment opportunities in Rwanda in sectors such as energy, information technology, minerals and mining, and agriculture.

View USTR press release


USTR Request for Comments: Canadian Compliance with Softwood Lumber Agreement

View the text of USTR’s Federal Register notice announcing the amount of compensation to be collected on lumber products imported from the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan as an award for U.S. rights denied by Canada under the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement. After a Section 302 investigation, USTR determined that a 10 percent ad valorem duty will be imposed until such time as the United States has collected $54.8 million—the amount determined by an arbitral tribunal. Interested persons are invited to submit comments on the determinations in this investigation, and to participate in a public hearing in the event a hearing is requested. For information on submitting comments, please refer to the Federal Register notice.


Senior U.S. Trade Officials Call for Opening World Markets in Statements on February 2009 Trade Numbers

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk have issued statements commenting on February 2009 trade data showing that U.S. exports increased by 1.6 percent to $126.8 billion since January 2009 while imports decreased 5.1 percent to $152.7 billion. Overall, the trade deficit shrank 28.3 percent during the same time period. Noting the steps the Administration is taking to create American jobs and jump start local economies, the Secretary stated, “We must continue to increase exports by fostering innovation—a goal in which the Recovery Act makes important investments—and breaking down barriers to U.S. goods and services.” Ambassador Kirk commented, “these numbers reflect the ongoing contraction in world trade overall. This new trade data underscores the need to open more world markets to U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers, and to work with our trading partners to grow the global trading system again.”

View Secretary Locke’s statement

View USTR Kirk’s statement


United States Imposes Tariffs On Softwood Lumber From Four Canadian Provinces


On April 7, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the United States is imposing 10 percent ad valorem customs duties on imports of softwood lumber products from four Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan).  The United States is exercising its right to take this action in response to Canada’s failure to cure a breach of the 2006 U.S. - Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement and failure to impose the compensatory measures determined by the Tribunal.  These duties will remain in place until such time as the United States has collected $54.8 million.

View USTR press release



6 and 8 April 2009


Positive economic performance but continued reforms needed

The European Communities’ economic performance was generally good in 2006-07, although it weakened significantly from the second half of 2008 due to the global financial and economic crisis. A robust recovery and sustained economic growth in the European Communities will hinge on it continuing to undertake key structural reforms, according to the WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of the European Communities.

These include further liberalization of services, both at the intra-EC level and vis-à-vis third countries, and of its agricultural policies through the simplification of its tariff structure and the reduction of its high tariff rates on, and incentives to the production and export of, agricultural products. Such reforms would also contribute to the improvement of the EC’s resource allocation and advance the full establishment of its internal market.

The report also notes that the European Communities, as the world’s leading exporter and the second-largest importer of goods, is expected to continue contributing to making trade play a key role in shortening and reversing the current global economic slowdown.

The report, along with a policy statement by the European Communities, will be the basis for the ninth Trade Policy Review (TPR) of the European Communities by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO on 6 and 8 April 2009.

The following documents are available in MS Word format.

• Secretariat report
Contents and summary observations
Economic environment
Trade and investment regimes
Trade policies and practices by measure
Trade policies by sector
Appendix tables

Government report

• Revisions of the above documents may be issued approximately 2 weeks after the meeting.

• Chairperson’s concluding remarks (coming soon)

• Minutes of the meeting are available approximately 6 weeks after the meeting.

• Questions and answers by WTO Members are available approximately 6 weeks after the meeting.   

• Note

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTOs full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRBs meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Geneve 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.

Schedule of forthcoming reviews 

Mozambique: 22 and 24 April 2009
Solomon Islands: 6 and 8 May 2009
New Zealand: 10 and 12 June 2009


Ambassador Kirk Announces Results of Annual 1377 Review


U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced the results of the 2009 annual review of the operation and effectiveness of telecommunications trade agreements under Section 1377 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (“1377 Review”) on April 6. The Report of the 1377 Review identifies barriers facing U.S. telecommunications service and equipment suppliers, evaluates progress toward resolving ongoing problems, and lays out specific telecommunications-related issues on which USTR will focus its monitoring and enforcement efforts this year. This year’s Report focuses on a broad range of concerns, including issues with major suppliers (Australia, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, and Sweden) when trying to lease parts of an incumbent operator’s network, and transparency and regulatory independence (China, Egypt, Germany, India, Israel, Mexico and South Africa) where independent regulatory agencies need strengthening and whose transparency policies need improvement. In addition to the problems identified in this year’s Report, USTR also marks progress with Oman, which eliminated unreasonably high licensing fees prior to entry into force of the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement. 

View USTR press release


USTR Releases Summary of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Negotiations


On April 6, USTR released a detailed summary of the current state of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations. The summary, which all of the ACTA negotiating partners drafted, sets out the specific topics under discussion in the negotiations, and reflects the Obama Administration's commitment to transparency. The summary is being shared with stakeholders for review and comment. The objective of the ACTA negotiations is to negotiate a new, state-of-the art agreement to combat counterfeiting and piracy. The United States has been working with several trading partners, including Australia, Canada, the European Union and its 27 member states, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland, to negotiate the agreement. When it is finalized, the ACTA is intended to assist in the efforts of governments around the world to more effectively combat the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods.

View USTR press release


USTR Kirk Transmits 2009 National Trade Estimate Report to Congress


On March 31, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk transmitted to Congress the 2009 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE).  The report describes significant barriers to U.S. trade and investment faced in the last year as well as the actions being taken by USTR to address those barriers.  Kirk said that the report will help to inform an enforcement strategy for U.S. trade policy, and that USTR is moving forward on several fronts, including identifying new cases where market access for U.S. goods and services is in jeopardy because of disregard for the rule of law. He said that the NTE Report and swift action by USTR will also advance American economic recovery efforts; as tariffs have declined worldwide, many nations have erected different, non-tariff barriers to trade. Examples of trade barriers maintained by foreign governments that are outlined in this year’s NTE Report include: onerous testing and certification requirements on more than 1,200 consumer goods; ineffective enforcement against trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy; and  prohibited export subsidies (e.g., for "national" brands) that are highly trade distorting.

View USTR press release


Chile - United States Agreement Allows Resumption of U.S. Beef Shipments to Chile

On March 27, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that the United States reached an agreement with Chile that will allow the immediate resumption of American beef shipments to Chile. American shipments of beef had been halted since September 2008 pending clarification of a provision of the U.S.–Chile FTA regarding the certification of beef grade labeling. USTR and Chilean officials concluded the agreement with an exchange of letters clarifying the applicable FTA provision.

View USTR press release


U.S. Senate Confirms Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary

On March 24, the United States Senate confirmed Gary Locke as the nation’s 36th Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent. Secretary Locke will be a key member of President Obama’s economic team and will work to foster and promote American economic development at home, and will be an influential ambassador for American business and industry abroad. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary. “I’m honored to take on this challenge and will work every day to make the Commerce Department an engine for improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and creating jobs,” Locke said.

As Governor of Washington, Locke led 10 productive trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe, significantly expanding the sales of Washington products and services. His visits are credited with introducing Washington companies to China and helping more than double the state’s exports to China to over $5 billion per year. He also opened a Washington State trade office in Germany to advance trade relations with European countries.


WTO Adopts Panel Report in China Intellectual Property Rights Dispute

On March 20, USTR Ron Kirk announced that the WTO formally ruled that several aspects of China’s legal regime for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights are inconsistent with China’s obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). The United States brought this dispute against China because of concerns that Chinese law does not adequately provide for the protection and enforcement of copyrights and trademarks on a wide range of products. Ambassador Kirk commented, “… this dispute demonstrates …(that) the United States will not hesitate to use all appropriate tools at our disposal to ensure that our industries, authors and artists are protected – and that our trading partners observe their WTO commitments.” He added, “We also look forward to continuing bilateral discussions with China on these and other important IPR matters. A great deal of work remains for China to improve its IPR protection and enforcement regime. The United States stands ready to assist constructively in those efforts.”

View USTR press release


USTR Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Ashton Discuss Global Economy, Doha

View the text of the USTR press release regarding the March 19 meeting between USTR Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton. Noting that they met “at an extremely difficult time for the global economy, a time that is testing the resilience of the rules-based multilateral trading system,” Kirk and Ashton “…committed ourselves today to intensify our efforts to ensure that our bilateral trade relations and our cooperation on multilateral issues of common interest make the strongest possible contribution to global economic recovery.” The two trade officials “agreed on the importance of achieving an ambitious and balanced outcome to the WTO Doha Development Agenda as soon as possible,” and pledged to maintain the November pledge of G20 leaders to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services.


Senate Approves USTR Designee Ron Kirk

On March 18, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the nomination of USTR designee Ron Kirk as the nation’s 16th trade representative. As United States Trade Representative (USTR), Kirk is member of President Obama’s Cabinet and serves as the President’s principal trade advisor, negotiator and spokesperson on trade issues. He is the first African American to serve in the post. Kirk draws upon more than 25 years of diverse legislative and legal experience on local, state and federal levels. As the mayor of Dallas from 1995 – 2001, he earned a reputation for bringing together diverse coalitions to achieve results and expanded Dallas’ reach to the world through a range of trade programs, including numerous trade missions. Previously, Governor Ann Richards appointed him as Texas Secretary of State, he served as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen and he was named as chair of Texas’ General Service Commission. Ambassador Kirk also served as a City of Dallas assistant city attorney.

View USTR press release


USTR Announces Delay of Trade Action in Beef Hormones Dispute


On March 12, USTR announced that it is delaying by one month the imposition of additional duties on a modified list of EU products in connection with WTO dispute settlement rulings in the EU – Beef Hormones dispute.  Under a determination announced on January 15, 2009, the additional duties were to go into effect on March 23, 2009.  Under the delay announced March 12, the additional duties are scheduled to go into effect on April 23, 2009.  USTR spokesperson Nefeterius McPherson stated,  “USTR is currently in discussions with the European Commission on a possible interim solution that would provide benefits for U.S. beef producers.  These discussions have made progress… USTR has decided to delay the trade action in order to give this process every possibility of success.”  Under the decision announced March 12, most of these changes will be delayed for one month, and will now be effective on April 23.  However, in order to respect commercial arrangements that have been made in the period since January 15, there will be no delay in the March 23, 2009, effective date of the deletion of products from the list of products subject to additional duties.  The details of the delay in the trade action are set out in a Federal Register notice that shortly will be posted on USTR’s website.

View USTR press release


Obama Administration Delivers 2009 Trade Report to Congress

On March 2, the Obama Administration delivered to Congress the 2009 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2008 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program. According to the report’s introduction, President Obama’s trade agenda will contribute to achieving the objectives of improving the living standards of American families while “reorienting our economy to meet today’s challenges – energy, the environment, and global competitiveness.” While noting that “Eliminating barriers to trade in the face of serious turmoil in our economy and financial markets will be a challenge,” the report went on to state, “The President will use all available tools to address [the] economic crisis including achieving access to new markets for American businesses large and small.” Regarding bilateral agreements, the report stated, “We are in the process of developing a plan of action to address the pending trade agreements in consultation with Congress. We hope to move on the Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) relatively quickly. And we plan to establish benchmarks for progress on the Colombian and South Korean FTAs.”


USITC Launches New Investigation on Possible Modification to U.S.-Singapore FTA Rules of Origin

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input from all interested parties on a newly initiated investigation concerning proposed modifications of the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) rules of origin. The investigation, Certain Yarns and Fabrics FY 2009: Effect of Modification of the U.S.- Singapore Free Trade Agreement Rules of Origin, was requested by USTR in a letter received on January 28, 2009. USITC will provide advice on the probable effect of the proposed USSFTA rules of origin modifications on U.S. trade and on domestic producers of the affected yarns and fabrics. Details on the products covered by the investigation can be obtained from the attachment to the request letter. USITC expects to submit its advice to the USTR by August 4, 2009. For information on submitting comments, please refer to the USITC press release.


Request for Public Comments Regarding Andean Trade Preference Act Beneficiary Countries

USTR is requesting the views of interested parties on whether the designated beneficiary countries are meeting eligibility criteria for the Andean Trade Preference Act. This information will be used in the preparation of a report to the Congress on the operation of the program. Public comments are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 26, 2009. For more information, including details regarding how to submit comments, please refer to the Federal Register notice.