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Rule

Federal Acquisition Regulation; Caribbean Basin Country End Products

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Interim rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed on an interim rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the determination of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to extend the treatment of certain end products, from countries designated by the President as beneficiaries under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, as eligible products under the Trade Agreements Act, with the exception of end products from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Panama. This rule also implements Section 211 of the United States—Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act and the determination of the USTR as to which countries qualify for the enhanced trade benefits under that Act.

DATES:

Effective Date: February 20, 2002.

Comment Date: Interested parties should submit comments to the FAR Secretariat at the address shown below on or before April 9, 2002, to be considered in the formulation of a final rule.

ADDRESSES:

Submit written comments to: General Services Administration, FAR Secretariat (MVP), 1800 F Street, NW, Room 4035, Attn: Ms. Laurie Duarte, Washington, DC 20405.

Submit electronic comments via the Internet to: farcase.2000-306@gsa.gov

Please submit comments only and cite FAC 2001-04, FAR case 2000-306, in all correspondence related to this case.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

The FAR Secretariat, Room 4035, GS Building, Washington, DC 20405, (202) 501-4755, for information pertaining to Start Printed Page 6117status or publication schedules. For clarification of content, contact Ms. Cecelia L. Davis, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 219-0202. Please cite FAC 2001-04, FAR case 2000-306.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

The USTR published a notice in the Federal Register on December 14, 2001 (66 FR 64897), renewing the treatment of certain end products, from countries designated by the President as beneficiaries under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, as eligible products under the Trade Agreements Act, with the exception of end products from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Panama. This rule implements that determination.

This interim rule also amends the FAR to implement Section 211 of the United States—Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (Title II of Pub. L. 106-200) and the determinations of the USTR under that Act. To date, the USTR has published determinations in the Federal Register at 65 FR 60236, October 10, 2000; 65 FR 69988, November 21, 2000; 66 FR 9888, February 12, 2001, and 66 FR 31272, June 11, 2001. Section 211 amends the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act at 19 U.S.C. 2703 to provide enhanced trade benefits for Caribbean Basin countries that have implemented and follow, or are making substantial progress toward implementing and following, the customs procedures required by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act. Certain products of those countries now qualify for duty-free treatment, so they can be treated as Caribbean Basin country end products. Offerors can find these products, and the current list of countries, in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). The FAR gives information on the HTS in FAR clause 52.225-5, Trade Agreements. The USTR notices in the Federal Register announced the determination that Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago currently qualify for the enhanced trade benefits and modified the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States accordingly.

This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The interim rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because it only affects a limited number of products from a few Caribbean Basin countries. The Berry Amendment (formerly at 10 U.S.C. 2241, note, but recently enacted as 10 U.S.C. 2533a) still prohibits the Department of Defense from buying most of the textile and apparel articles receiving duty-free treatment under this Act. Therefore, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has not been performed. The Councils will consider comments from small entities concerning the affected FAR parts in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. (FAC 2001-04, FAR case 2000-306), in correspondence.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

D. Determination To Issue an Interim Rule

A determination has been made under the authority of the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of General Services, and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that urgent and compelling reasons exist to promulgate this interim rule without prior opportunity for public comment. This action is necessary because the determination of the USTR to provide enhanced benefits to the products of certain countries under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act became effective on October 2, 2000, and because the USTR reinstated the expired Caribbean Basin program on December 14, 2001, effective immediately. However, pursuant to Public Law 98-577 and FAR 1.501, the Councils will consider public comments received in response to this interim rule in the formation of the final rule.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 25 and 52

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Government procurement.

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Dated: February 1, 2002.

Al Matera,

Director, Acquisition Policy Division.

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Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend 48 CFR parts 25 and 52 as set forth below:

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 40 U.S.C. 486(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c).

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PART 25—FOREIGN ACQUISITION

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2. Amend section 25.003 in the definition “Caribbean Basin country” by removing “Panama,”; and by revising the definition “Caribbean Basin country end product” to read as follows:

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Definitions.
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Caribbean Basin country end product

(1) Means an article that—

(i)(A) Is wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of a Caribbean Basin country; or

(B) In the case of an article that consists in whole or in part of materials from another country, has been substantially transformed in a Caribbean Basin country into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was transformed; and

(ii) Is not excluded from duty-free treatment for Caribbean countries under 19 U.S.C. 2703(b).

(A) For this reason, the following articles are not Caribbean Basin country end products:

(1) Tuna, prepared or preserved in any manner in airtight containers.

(2) Petroleum, or any product derived from petroleum.

(3) Watches and watch parts (including cases, bracelets, and straps) of whatever type including, but not limited to, mechanical, quartz digital, or quartz analog, if such watches or watch parts contain any material that is the product of any country to which the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) column 2 rates of duty apply (i.e., Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam).

(4) Certain of the following: textiles and apparel articles; footwear, handbags, luggage, flat goods, work gloves, and leather wearing apparel; or handloomed, handmade, and folklore articles.

(B) Access to the HTSUS to determine duty-free status of articles of the types listed in paragraph (1)(ii)(A)(4) of this definition is available via the Internet at Start Printed Page 6118 http://www.customs.ustreas.gov/​impoexpo/​impoexpo.htm. In particular, see the following:

(1) General Note 3(c), Products Eligible for Special Tariff treatment.

(2) General Note 17, Products of Countries Designated as Beneficiary Countries under the United States—Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act of 2000.

(3) Section XXII, Chapter 98, Subchapter II, Articles Exported and Returned, Advanced or Improved Abroad, U.S. Note 7(b).

(4) Section XXII, Chapter 98, Subchapter XX, Goods Eligible for Special Tariff Benefits under the United States-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act; and

(2) Refers to a product offered for purchase under a supply contract, but for purposes of calculating the value of the acquisition, includes services (except transportation services) incidental to the article, provided that the value of those incidental services does not exceed that of the article itself.

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[Amended]
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3. Amend section 25.400 in paragraph (a)(2) by removing the words “Republic and Honduras” and adding “Republic, Honduras, and Panama,” in its place.

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[Amended]

4. Amend section 25.404 by removing the second and third sentences.

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PART 52—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

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5. Amend section 52.225-5 by—

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a. Removing “Panama,” from the definition “Caribbean Basin country”; and

b. Revising the definition “Caribbean Basin country end product” to read as follows:

Trade Agreements.
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Trade Agreements (Feb 2002)

(a) * * *

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Caribbean Basin country end product

(1) Means an article that—

(i)(A) Is wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of a Caribbean Basin country; or

(B) In the case of an article that consists in whole or in part of materials from another country, has been substantially transformed in a Caribbean Basin country into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was transformed; and

(ii) Is not excluded from duty-free treatment for Caribbean countries under 19 U.S.C. 2703(b).

(A) For this reason, the following articles are not Caribbean Basin country end products:

(1) Tuna, prepared or preserved in any manner in airtight containers;

(2) Petroleum, or any product derived from petroleum;

(3) Watches and watch parts (including cases, bracelets, and straps) of whatever type including, but not limited to, mechanical, quartz digital, or quartz analog, if such watches or watch parts contain any material that is the product of any country to which the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) column 2 rates of duty apply (i.e., Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam); and

(4) Certain of the following: textiles and apparel articles; footwear, handbags, luggage, flat goods, work gloves, and leather wearing apparel; or handloomed, handmade, and folklore articles;

(B) Access to the HTSUS to determine duty-free status of articles of these types is available at http://www.customs.ustreas.gov/​impoexpo/​impoexpo.htm. In particular, see the following:

(1) General Note 3(c), Products Eligible for Special Tariff treatment.

(2) General Note 17, Products of Countries Designated as Beneficiary Countries under the United States—Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act of 2000.

(3) Section XXII, Chapter 98, Subchapter II, Articles Exported and Returned, Advanced or Improved Abroad, U.S. Note 7(b).

(4) Section XXII, Chapter 98, Subchapter XX, Goods Eligible for Special Tariff Benefits under the United States—Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act; and

(2) Refers to a product offered for purchase under a supply contract, but for purposes of calculating the value of the acquisition, includes services (except transportation services) incidental to the article, provided that the value of those incidental services does not exceed that of the article itself.

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[FR Doc. 02-2917 Filed 2-7-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P