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Notice

Possible Modifications to the International Harmonized System Nomenclature

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

International Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Request for public comments on proposal to delete certain low-trade categories from the Harmonized System.

SUMMARY:

The Commission is soliciting the views of interested parties on a proposal before the Review Subcommittee (RSC) of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Brussels, Belgium, to delete certain low-trade headings and subheadings from the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System or HS).

EFFECTIVE DATE:

August 21, 2002.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ronald H. Heller, Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements (O/TATA) (202/205-2596, E-Mail rheller@usitc.gov). The O/TATA fax number is 202/205-2616.

Background

The Harmonized System was established by an international Convention, which, inter alia, provides that the System should be kept up-to-date in light of changes in technology and patterns of international trade. The international HS nomenclature, which is maintained by the WCO, provides a uniform structural basis for the customs tariff and statistical nomenclatures of all major trading countries of the world, including the United States. The Commission, the U.S. Customs Service and the Bureau of the Census are responsible for the development of U.S. technical proposals concerning the HS under section 1210 of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (the 1988 Act) (19 U.S.C. 3010). A 1988 notice issued by the United States Trade Representative (53 FR 45646, November 10, 1988), established the Commission as the lead U.S. agency in considering proposals for HS amendments that are intended to ensure that it reflects such changes in technology and trade. The WCO expects to implement the next series of amendments to the HS nomenclature by the year 2007. As part of each review cycle, the RSC considers simplifying the HS by removing lines for which trade falls below a threshold value. HS lines that are eliminated are merged with HS lines containing like products. Noting that the HS has expanded over the years and now comprises 1,244 four-digit headings and Start Printed Page 558735,224 six-digit subheadings, the Subcommittee requested that the Secretariat examine relevant trade data and develop an initial list of four-digit headings and six-digit subheadings for which world trade in each category did not exceed US$100 million and US$50 million, respectively. Based on preliminary trade data for calendar years 1997-2000 provided by the United Nations Statistical Division, the WCO Secretariat recently published a list of 124 headings and 728 six-digit subheadings that showed world trade below the threshold values. As requested by the RSC, the Secretariat also considered further criteria relating to consistency of low trade and special circumstances (relationship to international conventions, environmental or social concerns, relative importance for developing economies) that might provide justification for retaining an HS item in spite of its low trade value. In this manner, the Secretariat reduced the list of candidates for deletion to 27 four-digit headings and 276 six-digit subheadings. Member countries are invited to examine that “short list” of potential deletions and indicate to the Subcommittee which categories should be retained because (1) more recent trade data reveals that the category in fact exceeds the threshold or (2) international concern over environmental, social or economic issues necessitates monitoring global trade on products in the category despite the low volume of trade. At its 26th session (September 2002), the Subcommittee will begin to examine the Secretariat's list and all national requests for retention of individual categories. The following is a list of the 27 headings and 276 subheadings that meet the Secretariat's full criteria for deletion from the HS. We invite the public to submit comments on this list.

Four-Digit Headings Proposed for Deletion
0503283874148004
0509420474168005
1402481574178006
1403530276119112
2305530478039203
2611650378059204
261270127906
Six-Digit Subheadings Proposed for Deletion
010310030265030561071130
020820030266030563071420
030191030373040520081030
030233030376070910091030
030261030377070952091040
030263030542070970091050
110210251319283610292112
110230251621283670292222
110422251622283920293010
120710270720284110293610
120730270760284120293921
120760280511284150293929
120924281123290314300110
120926282420290362310270
121110282520290515310320
121210282611290614310410
121230282620290714320630
130110282731290715320643
130214282733290820330111
140410282734290942330114
151540282735291213330121
200320282736291242330122
230220283020291421330123
230670283030291522330126
250621283323291523330130
250629283326291534340410
250820283522291535370220
251311283523291731370520
380520500390530210551433
382420520631530290551439
392072520632530410551592
401013520633530490560420
401036520634530511560710
410310520635530519570251
420610520641530521570252
420690520642530529570259
430130520643530590580310
430170520644540320580390
430213520645540610600510
441131520823540620610110
441139520853550610610311
441223521012550992610312
470411521022551322610319
470419521042551332610321
480230521052551333610411
480910521121551342610412
481430521122551343610421
481610521129551413610792
481630521141551431611110
500310521143551432611410
611720640330811230900620
620321650692811240900662
620510660310842520902740
620792680222842850903130
620910681130843352910112
621131720280844841910620
621310722520845620911220
630252722693847040911290
630292722694847220911410
630293722910850530911420
630311731413850920911440
630611731910850930920410
630621740110851921920420
630631740120851929920910
630639740323851940920920
630641740722854340920993
630649741420860620930610
640191741490880110960420
640230810195880190961490

Copies of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which incorporates the international Harmonized System in its overall structure, can be found on the USITC's World Wide Web (WWW) site, http://www.usitc.gov. Hard copies and electronic copies of the HTSUSA can also be found at many of the 1,400 federal Depository Libraries located throughout the United States and its territories; further information about these locations can be found on the WWW at the following location (URL): http://www.access.gpo.gov/​su_​docs/​fdlp/​libpro.html, or by contacting GPO Access at the Government Printing Office, 1-888-293-6498. Copies of the WCO Secretariat's report on its analysis of trade data and other factors, its list of low-trade HS lines and its indications of suggested deletions (WCO Doc. NR0270E-B1) is available from the USITC Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements, as indicated above (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). This proposal is part of a comprehensive review of the international HS being carried out by the RSC. Its implementation internationally would not require that domestic tariff rates or statistical coverage be eliminated from the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Any such consequential amendments would be separately considered by the Commission at a later date, pursuant to section 1205 of the 1988 Act. Section 1205 requires that existing duty treatment be retained whenever possible.

Request for Proposals

The Commission is seeking comments on the list of proposed deletions from the HS and, in particular, on those categories for which the United States may request retention. Interested parties, associations and Government agencies should submit specific HS category numbers from the above list which they feel should be retained in the HS and, for each category, the reason for retaining the category in the international system (including, where relevant, trade data).

Deadline

Suggestions must be received no later than the close of business, September 6, 2002, in order to be considered by the Commission.

Written Submissions

All submissions should be addressed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E St., SW., Washington, DC 20436. Commercial or financial information that a party desires the Commission to treat as confidential must be submitted on separate sheets of paper, each clearly marked “Confidential Business Information” at the top. All submissions requesting confidential treatment must conform with the requirements of section 201.6 of the Commission's rules of practice and procedure (19 CFR 201.6). All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be made available for inspection by interested persons. TDD Access: Hearing Start Printed Page 55874impaired individuals are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting our TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810. World Wide Web Access: This notice, and any subsequent notices published pursuant to section 1210 of the 1988 Act, may be obtained from the ITC Internet web server: http://www.usitc.gov.

Start Signature

By order of the Commission.

Issued: August 26, 2002.

Marilyn R. Abbott,

Secretary to the Commission.

End Signature End Further Info End Preamble

[FR Doc. 02-22186 Filed 8-29-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7020-02-P