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Proposed Collection, Comment Request

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The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)]. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed revision of the “International Price Program—U.S. Import Product Information.” A copy of the proposed information collection Start Printed Page 20186request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the individual listed below in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice on or before June 23, 2003.


Send comments to Amy A. Hobby, BLS Clearance Officer, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4080, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE., Washington, DC 20212, telephone number 202-691-7628 (this is not a toll free number).

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Amy A. Hobby, BLS Clearance Officer, telephone number 202-691-7628. (See ADDRESSES section.)

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I. Background

The U.S. Import Price Indexes, produced continuously by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' International Price Program (IPP) since 1971, measure price change over time for all categories of imported products, as well as many services. The Office of Management and Budget has listed the Import Price Indexes as a Principal Federal Economic Indicator since 1982. The indexes are widely used in both the public and private sectors. The primary public sector use is the deflation of the U.S. Trade Statistics and the Gross Domestic Product; the indexes also are used in formulating U.S. trade policy and in trade negotiations with other countries. In the private sector, uses of the Import Price Indexes include market analysis, inflation forecasting, contract escalation, and replacement cost accounting.

The IPP indexes are closely followed statistics, and are viewed as a sensitive indicator of the economic environment. The U.S. Department of Commerce uses the monthly statistics to produce monthly and quarterly estimates of inflation-adjusted trade flows. Without continuation of data collection, it would be extremely difficult to construct accurate estimates of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. In addition, Federal policymakers in the Department of Treasury, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Federal Reserve Board utilize these statistics on a regular basis to improve these agencies' formulation and evaluation of monetary and fiscal policy and evaluation of the general business environment.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Action

The IPP continues to modernize data collection and processing to permit more timely release of its indexes, and to reduce reporter burden. Recently, for example, the IPP has attempted to cut back the number of months during any given year an individual respondent would need to supply data. Respondents are only asked for data in those months that they indicated that they might normally have changes in their prices. The IPP is also looking into less frequent sampling of more stable item areas, use of broader item areas in certain cases, and retention of items initiated in previous samples that reporters still trade. In order to reduce the time required for processing new items, direct entry of initiation data from the field was recently implemented. The IPP is continuing to test the feasibility of using fax transmissions to directly collect and enter data into the BLS reporters' repricing database. In Fiscal Year 2003 the IPP is also developing a web-based data collection system designed to permit respondents to enter data directly into the IPP's monthly database.

Type of Review: Revision.

Agency: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Title: International Price Program/U.S. Import Product Information.

OMB Number: 1220-0026.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

FormTotal respondentsFrequencyTotal responsesAverage time per response (hours)Estimated total burden (hours)
Initiation Visit (includes form 3008)2,000Annually2,0001.02,000
Form 3007D3,400Monthly21,420.6313,495

Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): $0.

Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): $0.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they also will become a matter of public record.

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Signed at Washington, DC, this 15th day of April, 2003.

Jesús Salinas,

Acting Chief, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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[FR Doc. 03-10128 Filed 4-23-03; 8:45 am]