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Notice

Request for Public Comment With Respect to the Annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to section 303 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, as amended, USTR is required to publish annually the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE). With this notice, the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) is requesting interested parties to assist it in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services and overseas direct investment for inclusion in the NTE. Particularly important are impediments materially affecting the actual and potential financial performance of an industry sector. The TPSC invites written comments that provide views relevant to the issues to be examined in preparing the NTE.

DATES:

Public comments are due not later than Wednesday, November 16, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Submissions by electronic mail: FR0508@USTR.EOP.GOV. Submissions by facsimile: Gloria Blue, Executive Secretary, Trade Policy Staff Committee, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (202) 395-6143. The public is strongly encouraged to submit documents electronically rather than by facsimile. (See requirements for submissions below.)

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Questions regarding the report, its subject matter or procedural questions concerning submissions should be directed to Ms. Gloria Blue, Office of Policy Coordination, Office of the United States Trade Representative (202) 395-3475.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Last year's report may be found on USTR's Internet Home Page (http://www.ustr.gov) in the Document Library under the section on Reports/Publications. In order to ensure compliance with the statutory mandate for reporting foreign trade barriers that are significant, we will focus particularly on those restrictions where there has been active private sector interest.

The information submitted should relate to one or more of the following ten categories of foreign trade barriers:

(1) Import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import charges, quantitative restrictions, import licensing, and customs barriers);

(2) Standards, testing, labeling, and certification (including unnecessarily restrictive application of phytosanitary standards, refusal to accept U.S. manufacturers' self-certification of conformance to foreign product standards, and environmental restrictions);

(3) Government procurement (e.g., “buy national” policies and closed bidding);

(4) Export subsidies (e.g., export financing on preferential terms and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third country markets);

(5) Lack of intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes);

(6) Services barriers (e.g., limits on the range of financial services offered by foreign financial institutions, regulation of international data flows, restrictions on the use of data processing, quotas on imports of foreign films, and barriers to the provision of services by professionals (e.g., lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, nurses, etc.);

(7) Investment barriers (e.g., limitations on foreign equity participation and on access to foreign government-funded R&D consortia, local content, technology transfer and export performance requirements, and restrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees and royalties);

(8) Anticompetitive practices with trade effects tolerated by foreign governments (including anticompetitive activities of both state-owned and private firms that apply to services or to goods and that restrict the sale of U.S. products to any firm, not just to foreign firms that perpetuate the practices);

(9) Trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce (e.g., tariff and non-tariff measures, burdensome and discriminatory regulations and standards, and discriminatory taxation); and

(10) Other barriers (i.e., barriers that encompass more than one category, e.g., bribery and corruption, or that affect a single sector).

As in the case of last year's NTE, we are asking that particular emphasis be placed on any practices that may violate U.S. trade agreements. We are also interested in receiving any new or updated information pertinent to the barriers covered in last year's report as well as new information. Please note that the information not used in the NTE will be maintained for use in future negotiations.

It is most important that your submission contain estimates of the potential increase in exports that would result from the removal of the barrier, as well as a clear discussion of the method(s) by which the estimates were computed. Estimates should fall within the following value ranges: Less than $5 million; $5 to $25 million; $25 million to $50 million; $50 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; or over $500 million. Such assessments enhance USTR's ability to conduct meaningful comparative analyses of a barrier's effect over a range of industries.

Please note that interested parties discussing barriers in more than one country should provide a separate submission (i.e., one that is self-contained) for each country.

Requirements for Submissions: In order to facilitate prompt processing of submissions, USTR strongly urge and prefers electronic (e-mail) submissions in response to this notice. In the event an e-mail submission is impossible, submissions should be made by facsimile. Facsimile submissions should not exceed a maximum of 20 pages.

E-mail submissions should be single copy transmissions in English. Submissions should use the following subject line: “2006 National Trade Estimate Report—Submission by (sector, company, association). Documents must be submitted as either WordPerfect (“WPD”), MSWord (“DOC”), or text (“TXT”) file. Documents should not be submitted as electronic image files or contain imbedded images (for example, “JPG”, “PDF” “BMP”, or “GIF”), as these type of files are generally excessively large. Supporting Documentation submitted as spreadsheets are acceptable as Quattro Pro or Excel, pre-formatted for printing on 81/2 x 11 inch paper. To the extent possible, any data attachments to the submission should be included in the same file as the submission itself, and not as separate files.

Petitions will be available for public inspection by appointment with the staff of the USTR Public Reading Room, except for information granted “business confidential” status pursuant to 15 CFR 2003.6. If the submission contains business confidential information, a non-confidential version of the submission must also be submitted that indicates where Start Printed Page 55205confidential information was redacted by inserting asterisks where material was deleted. In addition, the confidential submission must be clearly marked “Business Confidential” in large, bold letters at the top and bottom of every page of the documents. The public version that does not contain business confidential information must be clearly marked either “Public Version” or “Non-Confidential” in large, bold letters at the top and bottom of every page. The file name of any documents containing business confidential information attached to an e-mail transmission should begin with the characters “BC-”, and the file name of the public version should begin with the characters “P-”. The “P-” or “BC-” should be followed by the name of the person or party submitting the petition. Submissions by e-mail should not include separate cover letters or messages in the message area of the e-mail; information that might appear in any cover letter should be included directly in the submission. The e-mail address for submissions is FR0508@ustr.eop.gov. Public versions of all documents relating to this review will be available for review shortly after the due date by appointment in the USTR Public Reading Room, 1724 F Street, NW., Washington, DC. Availability of documents may be ascertained and appointments may be made from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling (202) 395-6186.

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Carmen Suro-Bredie,

Chair, Trade Policy Staff Committee.

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[FR Doc. 05-18701 Filed 9-19-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-W5-P