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Notice

WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding United States-Rules of Origin for Textiles and Apparel Products

Action

Notice; Request For Comments.

Summary

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) is providing notice that on June 24, 2002, a dispute settlement panel was established at the request of the Government of India under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) to examine Section 334 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”), its implementing legislation, and Section 405 of the Trade and Development Act of 2000. India alleges that these U.S. statutes are inconsistent with the obligations of the United States under the Agreement on Rules of Origin (“ARO”). USTR invites written comment from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute. Bangladesh, China, the European Communities (“EC”), Pakistan and the Philippines have notified the WTO of their intention to participate as third parties.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Although the USTR will accept any comments received during the course of the dispute settlement proceedings, comments should be submitted on or before August 26, 2002, to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Comments should be submitted (i) electronically, to FR0015@usstr.gov, Attn: “US-India Textile ROO Dispute” in the subject line, or (ii) by mail, to Sandy McKinzy, Monitoring and Enforcement Unit, Office of the General Counsel, Room 122, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508, Attn: India Textile ROO Dispute, with a confirmation copy sent electronically or by fax to 202-395-3640.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Melida N. Hodgson, Associate General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC (202) 395-3582.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Pursuant to Section 127(b) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) (19 U.S.C. 3537(b)(1)), USTR is providing notice that on June 24, 2002, a WTO dispute settlement panel was established at the request of India. The Panel, which would hold its meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, is expected to issue a report on its findings and recommendations within six to nine months after its establishment.

Major Issues Raised and Legal Basis of the Complaint Back to Top

India alleges that Section 334 (1996), and its modification Section 405 (2000), are inconsistent with certain obligations of the United States under the ARO. Section 334 established certain rules of origin applicable to textile and apparel products to harmonize U.S. practice with that of our trading partners. Section 405 amended Section 334 to resolve certain claims raised by the EC in dispute settlement proceedings challenging our textile rules of origin implementing the URAA.

Specifically, India alleges that Section 334 and Section 405 wrongly differentiated between textile and apparel products and industrial products in order to protect the US industry. India further alleges that Sections 334 and 405 are inconsistent with Article 2(b)-(e) of ARO, because, inter alia: their rules are complex and disrupt and restrict trade; they impose prerequisite conditions not related to manufacturing or processing; discriminate between domestic and WTO Member goods, as well between Member goods; and are not administered in a consistent, impartial manner.

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions Back to Top

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning the issues raised in the dispute. Persons submitting comments may either send one copy by U.S. mail, first class, postage prepaid, to Sandy McKinzy at the address listed above or transmit a copy electronically to FR0015@ustr.gov, with “India Textile ROO Dispute” in the subject line. For documents sent by U.S. mail, USTR requests that the submitter provide a confirmation copy, either electronically or by fax to 202-395-3640. USTR encourages the submission of documents in Adobe PDF format, as attachments to an electronic mail. Interested persons who make submissions by electronic mail should not provide separate cover letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission itself. Similarly, to the extent possible, any attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not as separate files. A person requesting that information contained in a comment submitted by that person be treated as confidential business information must certify that such information is business confidential and would not customarily be released to the public by the submitter. Confidential business information must be clearly marked “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” in a contrasting color ink at the top of each page of each copy.

Information or advice contained in a comment submitted, other than business confidential information, may be determined by USTR to be confidential in accordance with section 135(g)(2) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2155(g)(2)). If the submitter believes that information or advice may qualify as such, the submitter—

(1) Must so designate the information or advice;

(2) Must clearly mark the material as “SUBMITTED IN CONFIDENCE” in a contrasting color ink at the top of each page of each copy; and

(3) Is encouraged to provide a non-confidential summary of the information or advice.

Pursuant to section 127(e) of the URAA (19 U.S.C. 3537(e)), USTR will maintain a file on this dispute settlement proceeding, accessible to the public, in the USTR Reading Room: Room 3, First Floor, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508. The public file will include a listing of any comments received by USTR from the public with respect to the proceeding; the U.S. submissions to the panel in the proceeding, the submissions, or non-confidential summaries of submissions, to the panel received from other participants in the dispute, as well as the report of the dispute settlement panel, and, if applicable, the report of the Appellate Body. An appointment to review the public file (Docket WTO/DS-243, US-India Textile ROO Dispute) may be made by calling the Reading Room at (202) 395-6186. The USTR Reading Room is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Bruce R. Hirsh,

Acting Assistant United States Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement.

[FR Doc. 02-19282 Filed 7-30-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-01-M

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