International Trade Commission.
Request for public comments on proposal to delete certain low-trade categories from the Harmonized System.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org). The O/TATA fax number is 202/205-2616.
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|
|Six-Digit Subheadings Proposed for Deletion|
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).
Suggestions must be received no later than the close of business, September 6, 2002, in order to be considered by the Commission.
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.
[FR Doc. 02-22186 Filed 8-29-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7020-02-P