Office of the United States Trade Representative; Department of Labor.
Request for comments.
The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) gives notice that the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Labor (Labor) are initiating a review of the impact of the proposed U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on United States employment, including labor markets. This notice seeks written public comment on potentially significant sectoral or regional employment impacts (both positive and negative) in the United States as well as other likely labor market impacts of the FTA.
USTR and Labor will accept any comments received during the course of the negotiations of the FTA. However, comments should be received by noon, October 1, 2003, to be assured of timely consideration in the preparation of the report.
Submissions by electronic mail: FR0095@ustr.gov. Submissions by facsimile: Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee, at (202) 395-6143.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For procedural questions concerning public comments, contact Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, TPSC, Office of the USTR, 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508, telephone (202) 395-3475. Substantive questions concerning the employment impact review should be addressed to Jorge Perez-Lopez, Director, Office of International Economic Affairs, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone (202) 693-4883; or William Clatanoff, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor, telephone (202) 395-6120.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
1. Background Information
On August 4, 2003, in accordance with section 2104(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 2002, the United States Trade Representative notified the Congress of the President's intent to initiate a free trade agreement with Bahrain. The notification letters to the Congress can be found on the USTR Web site at http://www.ustr.gov/new/fta/Bahrain/2003-08-04-notification-house.pdf and http://www.ustr.gov/new/fta/Bahrain/2003-08-04-notification-senate.pdf respectively. On August 13, 2003 the USTR requested the ITC provide advice on the probable economic effects. The ITC intends to provide this advice within four months of receipt of the request. We intend to launch negotiations in January 2004.
The FTA will build on the Middle East Free Trade Area, which includes the Jordan and Morocco FTAs. By moving from unilateral trade preferences to a reciprocal trade agreement, the FTA will seek to eliminate duties and unjustified barriers to trade in both U.S.- and Bahrain-origin goods and also address trade in services, trade in agricultural products, investment, trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, government procurement, trade-related environmental and labor matters, and other issues. The FTA is expected to contribute to stronger economies, the rule of law, sustainable development, and more accountable institutions of governance, complementing ongoing domestic, bilateral, and multilateral efforts in the region. Finally, the FTA will lend momentum to building a Middle East Free Trade Area.
2. Employment Impact Review
Section 2102(c)(5) of the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002, 19 U.S.C. 3802(c)(5), directs the President to “review the impact of future trade agreements on United States employment, including labor markets, modeled after Executive Order 13141 to the extent appropriate in establishing procedures and criteria, report to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate on such review, and make that report available to the public.” USTR and the Department of Labor will conduct the employment reviews through the TPSC.
The employment impact review will be based on the following elements, which are modeled to the extent appropriate after those in EO 13141. The review will be: (1) Written; (2) initiated through a Federal Register notice soliciting public comment and information on the employment impact of the FTA in the United States; (3) made available to the public in draft form for public comment, to the extent practicable; and (4) made available to the public in final form.
Comments may be submitted on potentially significant sectoral or regional employment impacts (both positive and negative) in the United States as well as other likely labor market impacts of the FTA. Persons submitting comments should provide as much detail as possible in support of their submissions.
3. Requirements for Submissions
To ensure prompt and full consideration of responses, the TPSC strongly recommends that interested persons submit comments by electronic mail to the following e-mail address: Start Printed Page 52623 FR0095@ustr.gov. Persons making submissions by e-mail should use the following subject line: Bahrain Employment Review. Documents should be submitted in WordPerfect, MSWord, or text (.TXT) files. Supporting documentation submitted as spreadsheets is acceptable in Quattro Pro or Excel format. For any document containing business confidential information submitted electronically, the file name of the business confidential version should begin with the characters “BC-”, and the file name of the public version should begin with the character “P-”. The “P-” or “BC-” should be followed by the name of the submitter. Persons who make submissions by e-mail should not provide separate cover letters; information that might appear in a cover letter should be included in the submission itself. 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.
Written comments will be placed in a file open to public inspection pursuant to 15 CFR 2003.5, except confidential business information exempt from public inspection in accordance with 15 CFR 2003.6. Confidential business information submitted in accordance with 15 CFR 2003.6 must be clearly marked “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” at the top of each page, including any cover letter or cover page, and must be accompanied by a non-confidential summary of the confidential information. All public documents and non-confidential summaries shall be available for public inspection in the USTR Reading Room in Room 3 of the Annex of the Office of the USTR, 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508. An appointment to review the file may be made by calling (202) 395-6186. The USTR Reading Room is generally open to the public from 10 a.m-12 noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appointments must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance.Start Signature
Chairman, Trade Policy Staff Committee.
[FR Doc. 03-22527 Filed 9-3-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3190-01-P