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Notice

WTO Consultations Regarding Brazil Customs Valuation Regime

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is providing notice that on May 31, 2000, the United States requested WTO consultations with Brazil regarding its system for verification of the declared values of imported goods, such as textile products. Brazil uses minimum reference prices both as a requirement to obtain import licenses and/or as a base requirement for import. In practice, this system works to prohibit the import of products with declared values below established minimum prices, and, as such, appears to violate provisions of the Agreement on Customs Valuation; the GATT 1994; the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures; the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing; and the Agreement on Agriculture. Pursuant to Article 4.3 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (“DSU”), such consultations are to take place within a period of 30 days from the date of the request, or within a period otherwise mutually agreed between the United States and Brazil. USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.

DATES:

Although the USTR will accept any comments received during the course of the dispute settlement proceedings, comments should be submitted on or before July 31, 2000 to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments 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: Brazil Customs Valuation Dispute. Telephone: (202) 395-3582.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David J. Ross, Associate General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC, (202) 395-3581.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Section 127(b) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) (19 U.S.C. 3537(b)(1)) requires that notice and opportunity for comment be provided after the United States submits or receives a request for the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel. Consistent with this obligation, but in an effort to provide additional opportunity for comment, USTR is providing notice that consultations have been requested pursuant to the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding. If such consultations should fail to resolve the matter and a dispute settlement panel is established pursuant to the DSU, such panel, which would hold its meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, would be expected to issue a report on its findings and recommendations within six to nine months after it is established. Start Printed Page 36501

Major Issues Raised by the United States

On February 13, 1998, Brazil established under Decree No. 2.498/98 and other related statutes and regulations a system to verify the declared values of imported goods. In practice, however, Brazil utilizes this verification system—in conjunction with non-automatic import licensing procedures—to prohibit or restrict the import of products with declared values below the minimum prices. This situation appears inconsistent with Articles 1 through 7, and 12 of the Agreement on Customs Valuation; general notes 1, 2, and 4 of Annex 1 of the Agreement on Customs Valuation; Articles II and XI of the GATT 1994; Articles 1 and 3 of the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures; Articles 2 and 7 of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing; and Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture.

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning the issues raised in the dispute. Comments must be in English and provided in fifteen copies. 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 commenter. 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 101, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th 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 dispute; if a dispute settlement panel is convened, the U.S. submissions to that panel, 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 panel; and, if applicable, the report of the Appellate Body. An appointment to review the public file (Docket WTO/D-197, Brazil Customs Valuation Dispute) may be made by calling Brenda Webb, (202) 395-6186. The USTR Reading Room is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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A. Jane Bradley,

Assistant United States Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 00-14513 Filed 6-7-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-01-P