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Notice

WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding United States-Subsidies and Other Domestic Support for Corn and Other Agricultural Products

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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 that on January 8, 2007, Canada requested consultations with the United States under the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (“WTO Agreement”) regarding U.S. domestic support measures for corn and other agricultural products. That request may be found at http://www.wto.org contained in a document designated as WT/DS357/1. 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 consultations, comments should be submitted on or before February 28, 2007 to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

ADDRESSES:

Comments should be submitted (i) electronically, to FR0705@ustr.eop.gov, with “Corn Subsidy (Canada) (DS357)” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-3640. For Start Printed Page 4538documents sent by fax, USTR requests that the submitter provide a confirmation copy to the electronic mail address listed above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David Yocis, Assistant General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC, (202) 395-6150.

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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. In an effort to provide additional opportunity for comment, USTR is providing notice that consultations have been requested pursuant to the WTO Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (“DSU”). 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 by Canada

In its consultation request, Canada raises three major groups of issues. First, Canada asserts that domestic support provided by the United States to producers of corn has caused and threatens to cause serious prejudice to the interests of Canada by causing and threatening to cause price suppression in the Canadian market for corn, in breach of Article 5(c) and 6.3(c) of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Agreement”). The domestic support programs identified by Canada include direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, and marketing loans under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (“FSRI Act”), production flexibility contracts and marketing loans under the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (“FAIR Act”), market loss assistance (“MLA”) payments under a number of legislative enactments from 1998 to 2001, and export credit guarantees provided under the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, the General Sales Manager (“GSM-102”) program, and the Supplier Credit Guarantee Program (“SCGP”).

Second, Canada claims that support for corn and other agricultural products not included in the U.S. WTO schedule of agricultural export subsidy commitments provided under the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978, the GSM-102 program, and the SCGP, are export subsidies prohibited under Articles 3.1(a) and 3.2 of the SCM Agreement and provided in violation of Articles 3.3, 8, 9.1, and 10.1 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.

Third, Canada alleges that the United States has provided support to domestic agricultural producers in excess of U.S. commitments with respect to the Aggregate Measurement of Support (“AMS”) as described in Article 6.2 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and the U.S. WTO schedule of commitments. According to Canada, the calculation of the U.S. AMS should include direct payments and counter-cyclical payments under the FSRI Act for each of wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, rice, soybeans, and other oilseeds, as well as production flexibility contracts under the FAIR Act and MLAs for each of wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, and rice. Canada considers that, if such payments are included in the calculation of the U.S. AMS, the United States would be in breach of Article 3.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture for domestic support provided in each of the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2005.

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning the issues raised in the dispute. Comments should be submitted (i) electronically, to FR0705@ustr.eop.gov, with “Corn Subsidy (Canada) (DS357)” in the subject line, or (ii) by fax, to Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-3640. For documents sent by fax, USTR requests that the submitter provide a confirmation copy to the electronic mail address listed above.

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.

Comments must be in English. 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 designated as such and the submission must be marked “Business Confidential” at the top and bottom of the cover page and each succeeding page.

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

(1) Must clearly so designate the information or advice;

(2) Must clearly mark the material as “Submitted in Confidence” at the top and bottom of the cover page and each succeeding page; 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; if a dispute settlement panel is convened, the U.S. submissions to that panel, 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 (Docket WTO/DS-357, Canada Corn-AMS Dispute) 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 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Daniel Brinza,

Assistant United States Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. E7-1563 Filed 1-30-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3190-W7-P