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Notice

Request for Public Comment With Respect to the Annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to section 303 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, as amended, USTR is required to publish annually the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE). With this notice, the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is requesting interested parties to assist it in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services and overseas direct investment for inclusion in the NTE. Particularly important are impediments materially affecting the actual and potential financial performance of an industry sector. The TPSC invites written comments that provide views relevant to the issues to be examined in preparing the NTE.

DATES:

Public comments are due not later than November 27, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street NW., Room 122, Washington, DC 20508.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Gloria Blue, Office of Policy Coordination, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (202) 395-3475.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Last year's report may be found on USTR's Internet Home Page (www.ustr.gov) under the section on Reports. In order to ensure compliance with the statutory mandate for reporting foreign trade barriers that are significant, we will focus particularly on those restrictions where there has been active private sector interest.

The information submitted should relate to one or more of the following ten categories of foreign trade barriers:

(1) import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import changes, quantitative restrictions, import licensing, and customs barriers);

(2) standards, testing, labeling, and certification (including unnecessarily restrictive application of phytosanitary standards, refusal to accept U.S. manufacturers' self-certification of conformance to foreign product standards, and environmental restrictions);

(3) government procurement (e.g., “but national” policies and closed bidding);

(4) export subsidies e.g., export financing on preferential terms and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third country markets);

(5) lack of intellectual property protection e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes);

(6) services barriers e.g., limits on the range of financial services offered by foreign financial institutions, regulation of international data flows, restrictions on the use of data processing, quotas on imports of foreign films, and barriers to the provision of services by Start Printed Page 65038professionals e.g., lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, nurses, etc.);

(7) investment barriers e.g., limitations on foreign equity participation and on access to foreign government-funded R&D consortia, local content, technology tansfer and export performance requirements, and retrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees and royalties);

(8) anticompetitive practices with trade effects tolerated by foreign governments (including anticompetitve activities of both state-owned and private firms that apply to services or to goods and that retrict the sale of U.S. products to any firm, not just to foreign firms that perpetuate the practices);

(9) trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce e.g., taraiff and non-tariff measures, burdensome and discrimiantory regulations and standards, discriminatory taxation); and

(10) other barriers i.e., barriers that encompass more than one category, e.g., bribery and corruption, or that affect a single sector).

As in the case of last year's NTE, we are asking that particular emphasis be placed on any practices that may violate U.S. trade agreements. We are also interested in receiving any new or updated information pertinent to the barriers covered in last year's report as well as new information. Please note that the information not used in the NTE will be maintained for use in future negotiations.

It is MOST IMPORTANT that your submission contain estimates of the potential increase in exports that would result from the removal of the barrier, as well as a clear discussion of the method(s) by which the estimates were computed. Estimates should fall within the following value ranges: less than $5 million; $5 to $25 million; $25 million to $50 million; $50 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; or over $500 million. Such assessments enhance USTR's ability to conduct meaningful comparative analyses of a barrier's effect over a range of industries.

Please note that interested parties discussing barriers in more than one country should provide a separate submission i.e., one that is self-contained) for each country.

Written Comments: All written comments should be addressed to: Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street NW., Room 122, Washington, DC 20508.

All submissions must be in English and should conform to the information requirements of 15 CFR 2003. A party must provide ten copies of its submission which must be received at USTR no later than, November 27, 2000.

If the submission contains business confidential information, ten copies of a confidential version must also be submitted. A justification as to why the information contained in the submission should be treated confidentially must be included in the submission. In addition, any submissions containing business confidential information must be clearly marked “Confidential” at the top and bottom of the cover page (or letter) and of each succeeding page of the submission. The version that does not contain confidential information should also be clearly marked, at the top and bottom of each page, “public version” or “non-confidential.”

Written comments submitted in connection with this request, except for information granted “business confidential” status pursuant to 15 CFR 2003.6, will be available for public inspection shortly after the filing deadline. Inspection is by appointment only with the staff of the USTR Public Reading Room and can be arranged by calling Brenda Webb (202) 395-6186. The Reading Room is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Carmen Suro-Bredie,

Chairman, Trade Policy Staff Committee.

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[FR Doc. 00-27950 Filed 10-30-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-01-M