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Notice

WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding the United States International Trade Commission Final Determination of Threat of Material Injury in the Investigation Concerning Certain Softwood Lumber From Canada

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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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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 of the request by the Government of Canada for consultations under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (“WTO Agreement”) to examine the United States International Trade Commission (“ITC”) final determination of threat of material injury with respect to certain softwood lumber from Canada. The request for consultations alleges that the ITC's determination is inconsistent with various provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (“GATT 1994”), the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of GATT 1994 (“Anti-dumping Agreement”), and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Agreement”). USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues raised in this dispute.

DATES:

Although USTR will accept any comments received during the course of the dispute settlement proceedings, comments should be submitted on or before January 15, 2003 to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should be submitted (i) electronically, to fr0062@ustr.gov, Attn: “Lumber Injury Dispute” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to Sandy McKinzy at 202-395-3640, with a confirmation copy sent electronically to the email address above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Theodore R. Posner, Assistant General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington DC, 20508 (202) 395-3582.

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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 on December 20, 2002, the Government of Canada requested consultations 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.

Major Issues Raised and Legal Basis of the Complaint

In its determination of May 16, 2002, published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2002, the ITC found that imports of softwood lumber from Canada, which the U.S. Department of Commerce found to be subsidized and sold at less than fair value, threatened an industry in the United States with material injury. The reasons for the ITC's determination are set forth in USITC Publication No. 3509 (May 2002).

By letter dated December 20, 2002, Canada requested consultations with the United States under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding regarding the ITC's determination.

In its request for consultations, Canada alleges that the United States has violated Article VI:6(a) of the GATT 1994; Articles 1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 3.8, 12 and 18.1 of the Anti-dumping Agreement; and Articles 10, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, 15.7, 15.8, 22 and 32.1 of the SCM Agreement. Canada alleges that these violations stem from certain errors in the ITC's determination. In particular, Canada claims that the ITC:

(i) Based its determination on “allegation, conjecture and remote possibility”;

(ii) Failed to establish that “a change in circumstances which would create a situation in which the subsidy and dumping would cause injury is clearly foreseen and imminent”;

(iii) Failed “to properly consider all factors relevant to determining the existence of a threat of material injury”; and

(iv) Failed “to properly consider the effects of the dumped and subsidized imports, their impacts on the domestic industry, and whether the dumped and subsidized imports would cause injury or threat of injury.”

Canada further alleges that the ITC failed to include in its report “sufficient detail, relevant information and considerations, and proper reasons” for its determination.

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning the issues raised in Canada's request for consultations. Persons submitting comments may either send one copy by fax to Sandy McKinzy at 202-395-3640, or transmit a copy electronically to fr0062@ustr.gov, with “Lumber Injury Dispute” in the subject line. For documents sent by fax, USTR requests that the submitter provide a Start Printed Page 3089confirmation copy electronically. USTR encourages the submission of documents in Adobe PDF format, as attachments to an electronic mail. Interested persons who make submissions by electronic mail should not provide separate cover letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission itself. Similarly, to the extent possible, any attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not as separate files.

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 submitter. 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 submitting person believes that information or advice may qualify as such, the submitting person—

(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, which is located at 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508. The public file will include non-confidential comments received by USTR from the public with respect to the dispute; the U.S. submissions to the panel in the dispute, 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 may be made by calling the USTR Reading Room at (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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Daniel E. Brinza,

Assistant United States Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 03-1309 Filed 1-21-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-01-P