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Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Interim Procedures for Considering Requests Under the Commercial Availability Provision of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (U.S.-Panama TPA)

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The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.


Written comments must be submitted on or before February 19, 2013.


Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at


Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Laurie Mease, Office of Textiles and Apparel, Telephone: 202-482-3400, Fax: 202-482-0858, Email:


I. Abstract

Title II, Section 203(o) of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (the “Act”) [Pub. L. 112-43] implements the commercial availability provision provided for in Article 3.25 of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (the “Agreement”). The Agreement entered into force on October 31, 2012. Subject to the rules of origin in Annex 4.1 of the Agreement, pursuant to the textile provisions of the Agreement, fabric, yarn, and fiber produced in Panama or the United States and traded between the two countries are entitled to duty-free tariff treatment. Annex 3.25 of the Agreement also lists specific fabrics, yarns, and fibers that the two countries agreed are not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner from producers in Panama or the United States. The fabrics listed are commercially unavailable fabrics, yarns, and fibers, which are also entitled to duty-free treatment despite not being produced in Panama or the United States.

The list of commercially unavailable fabrics, yarns, and fibers may be changed pursuant to the commercial availability provision in Chapter 3, Article 3.25, Paragraphs 4-6 of the Agreement. Under this provision, interested entities from Panama or the United States have the right to request that a specific fabric, yarn, or fiber be added to, or removed from, the list of commercially unavailable fabrics, yarns, and fibers in Annex 3.25 of the Agreement.

Chapter 3, Article 3.25, paragraph 6 of the Agreement requires that the President “promptly” publish procedures for parties to exercise the right to make these requests. Section 203(o)(4) of the Act authorizes the President to establish procedures to modify the list of fabrics, yarns, or fibers not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in either the United States or Panama as set out in Annex 3.25 of the Agreement. The President delegated the responsibility for publishing the procedures and administering commercial availability requests to the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (“CITA”), which issues procedures and acts on requests through the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textiles and Apparel (“OTEXA”) (See Proclamation No. 8894, 77 FR 66507, November 5, 2012).

The intent of the U.S.-Panama TPA Commercial Availability Procedures is to foster the use of U.S. and regional products by implementing procedures that allow products to be placed on or removed from a product list, on a timely basis, and in a manner that is consistent with normal business practice. The procedures are intended to facilitate the transmission of requests; allow the market to indicate the availability of the supply of products that are the subject of requests; make available promptly, to interested entities and the public, information regarding the requests for products and offers received for those products; ensure wide participation by interested entities and parties; allow for careful review and consideration of information provided to substantiate requests, responses, and rebuttals; and provide timely public dissemination of information used by CITA in making commercial availability determinations.

CITA must collect certain information about fabric, yarn, or fiber technical specifications and the production capabilities of Panamanian and U.S. textile producers to determine whether certain fabrics, yarns, or fibers are available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in the United States or Panama, subject to Section 203(o) of the Act.

II. Method of Collection

Participants in a commercial availability proceeding must submit public versions of their Requests, Responses or Rebuttals electronically (via email) for posting on OTEXA's Web site. Confidential versions of those submissions which contain business confidential information must be delivered in hard copy to OTEXA.

III. Data

OMB Control Number: None.

Form Number(s): None.

Type of Review: Regular submission (new information collection).

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 16.

Estimated Time per Response: 8 hours per Request, 2 hours per Response, and 1 hour per Rebuttal.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 89.

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $5,340.

IV. Request for Comments

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

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

Dated: December 14, 2012.

Gwellnar Banks,

Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

[FR Doc. 2012-30555 Filed 12-18-12; 8:45 am]