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Notice

Notice of Request for Public Comments and Public Hearing on Section 232 National Security Investigation of Imports of Automobiles, Including Cars, SUVs, Vans and Light Trucks, and Automotive Parts

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AGENCY:

U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of request for public comments and public hearing.

SUMMARY:

On May 23, 2018, the Secretary of Commerce initiated an investigation to determine the effects on the national security of imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts. This investigation has been initiated under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended. Interested parties are invited to submit written comments, data, analyses, or other information pertinent to the investigation to the Department of Commerce by June 22, 2018. Rebuttal comments will be due by July 6, 2018. The Department of Commerce will also hold a public hearing on the investigation on July 19 and 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. This notice identifies the issues on which the Department is interested in obtaining the public's views. It also sets forth the procedures for public participation in the hearing.

DATES:

The due date for filing comments, for requests to appear at the public hearing, and for submissions of a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing is June 22, 2018.

The due date is July 6, 2018 for rebuttal comments submitted in response to any comments filed on or before June 22, 2018.

The public hearings will be held on July 19 and 20, 2018. The hearings will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time and conclude at 5:00 p.m. local time, each day.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments: All written submissions must be in English and must be addressed to Section 232 Automobile and Automotive Parts Imports Investigation, and filed through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via www.regulations.gov, enter docket number DOC-2018-0002 on the home page and click “search.” The site will provide a search results page listing all documents associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice and click on the link entitled “Comment Now!” (For further information on using www.regulations.gov, please consult the resources provided on the website by clicking on “How to Use This Site” on the left side of the home page). For alternatives to on-line submissions, please contact Sahra Park-Su at (202) 482-2811.

Hearings: The public hearings will be held in the Department of Commerce's auditorium at 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sahra Park-Su, U.S. Department of Commerce (202) 482-2811. For more information about the section 232 program, including the regulations and the text of previous investigations, see www.bis.doc.gov/​ 232.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On May 23, 2018, the Secretary of Commerce (“Secretary”) initiated an Start Printed Page 24736investigation under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862), to determine the effects on the national security of imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts. If the Secretary finds that automobiles and/or automotive parts are being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security, the Secretary shall recommend actions and steps that should be taken to adjust automobile and/or automotive parts imports so that they will not threaten to impair the national security.

Written Comments

This investigation is being undertaken in accordance with part 705 of the National Security Industrial Base Regulations (15 CFR parts 700 to 709) (“NSIBR”). Interested parties are invited to submit written comments, data, analyses, or information pertinent to this investigation to the U.S. Department of Commerce by June 22, 2018. Rebuttal comments submitted in response to comments received on or before June 22, 2018 may be filed no later than July 6, 2018.

The Department is particularly interested in comments and information directed to the criteria listed in § 705.4 of the NSIBR as they affect national security, including the following:

  • The quantity and nature of imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts and other circumstances related to the importation of automobiles and automotive parts;
  • Domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements;
  • Domestic production and productive capacity needed for automobiles and automotive parts to meet projected national defense requirements;
  • The existing and anticipated availability of human resources, products, raw materials, production equipment, and facilities to produce automobiles and automotive parts;
  • The growth requirements of the automobiles and automotive parts industry to meet national defense requirements and/or requirements to assure such growth, particularly with respect to investment and research and development;
  • The impact of foreign competition on the economic welfare of the U.S. automobiles and automotive parts industry;
  • The displacement of any domestic automobiles and automotive parts causing substantial unemployment, decrease in the revenues of government, loss of investment or specialized skills and productive capacity, or other serious effects;
  • Relevant factors that are causing or will cause a weakening of our national economy;
  • The extent to which innovation in new automotive technologies is necessary to meet projected national defense requirements;
  • Whether and, if so, how the analysis of the above factors changes when U.S. production by majority U.S.-owned firms is considered separately from U.S. production by majority foreign-owned firms; and
  • Any other relevant factors.

Additional Requirements for Written Comments

The www.regulations.gov website allows users to provide comments by filling in a “Type Comment” field, or by attaching a document using an “Upload File” field. The Department prefers that comments be provided in an attached document. The Department prefers submissions in Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). If the submission is in an application other than those two, please indicate the name of the application in the “Type Comment” field. Please do not attach separate cover letters to electronic submissions; rather, include any information that might appear in a cover letter in the comments themselves. Similarly, to the extent possible please include any exhibits, annexes, or other attachments in the same file as part of the submission itself rather than in separate files.

Comments will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection, except confidential business information. Comments may be viewed on www.regulations.gov by entering docket number DOC-2018-0002 in the search field on the home page.

Material that is business confidential information will be exempted from public disclosure as provided for by § 705.6 of the regulations. Anyone submitting business confidential information should clearly identify the business confidential portion of the submission, then file a statement justifying nondisclosure and referring to the specific legal authority claimed, and provide a non-confidential version of the submission which can be placed in the public file on http://www.regulations.gov.

For comments submitted electronically containing business confidential information, the file name of the business confidential version should begin with the characters “BC”. Any page containing business confidential information must be clearly marked “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” on the top of that page. The file name of the non-confidential version should begin with the character “P”. The “BC” and “P” should be followed by the name of the person or entity submitting the comments or rebuttal comments. Filers submitting comments containing no business confidential information should name their file using the name of the person or entity submitting the comments.

Communications from agencies of the United States Government will not be made available for public inspection. Please note that the submission of a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing is separate from the submission of other written comments and should be submitted separately.

Public Hearing

Consistent with the interest of the U.S. Department of Commerce in soliciting public comments on issues affecting U.S. industry and national security, the Department is holding a public hearing as part of the investigation. The hearing will further assist the Department in determining whether imports of automobiles and automotive parts threaten to impair the national security and in recommending remedies if such a threat is found to exist. Public comments at the hearing should address the criteria listed in §  705.4 of the NSIBR as they affect national security described above.

The hearing will be held on July 19 and 20, 2018 at the U.S. Department of Commerce auditorium, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230. The hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time and conclude at 5:00 p.m. local time, each day.

Procedure for Requesting Participation

The Department encourages interested public participants to present their views orally at the hearing. Any person wishing to make an oral presentation at the hearing must submit a written request to the Department of Commerce by June 22, 2018. The request to appear must include a summary of the expected testimony, and may also be accompanied by additional material. Remarks at the hearing may be limited to five minutes to allow for possible questions from U.S. government representatives.

All submissions must be in English and sent electronically via www.regulations.gov. To submit a request to appear at the hearing via www.regulations.gov, enter docket number DOC-2018-0002. In the “Type Start Printed Page 24737Comment” field, include name, address, email address, and telephone number of the person presenting the testimony, as well as the organization or company that they represent. Attach a summary of the testimony, and pre-hearing submission if provided, by using the “Upload File” field. The file name should include the name of the person who will be presenting the testimony.

The request to speak should include (1) the name and address of the person requesting to make a presentation; (2) a daytime phone number where the person who would be making the oral presentation may be contacted before the hearing; (3) the organization or company they represent; and (4) an email address.

Please note that the submission of a summary of expected testimony at the public hearing is separate from the request for written comments. Since it may be necessary to limit the number of persons making presentations, the written request to participate in the public hearing should describe the individual's interest in the hearing and, where appropriate, explain why the individual is a proper representative of a group or class of persons that has such an interest. If all interested parties cannot be accommodated at the hearing, the summaries of the oral presentations will be used to allocate speaking time and to ensure that a full range of comments is heard.

Each person selected to make a presentation will be notified by the Department of Commerce no later than 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 12, 2018. The Department will arrange the presentation times for the speakers. Persons selected to be heard are requested to bring 20 copies of their oral presentation and of all exhibits to the hearing site on the day of the hearing. All such material must be of a size consistent with ease of handling, transportation and filing. While large exhibits may be used during a hearing, copies of such exhibits in reduced size must be provided to the hearing panel. Written submissions by persons not selected to make presentations will be made part of the public record of the proceeding. Confidential business information may not be submitted at a public hearing. In the event confidential business information is submitted it will be handled according to the same procedures applicable to such information provided in the course of an investigation. See 15 CFR 705.6. The hearing will be recorded.

The transcript of the hearing will be available on www.regulations.gov in docket number DOC-2018-0002.

Conduct of the Hearing

The Department reserves the right to select the persons to be heard at the hearing, to schedule their respective presentations, and to establish the procedures governing the conduct of the hearing. Each speaker may be limited to 5 minutes, and comments must be directly related to the criteria listed in 15 CFR 705.4 of the regulations. Attendees will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.

A Department official will be designated to preside at the hearing. The presiding officer shall determine all procedural matters during the hearing. Representatives from the Department, and other U.S. Government agencies as appropriate, will make up the hearing panel. This will be a fact-finding proceeding; it will not be a judicial or evidentiary-type hearing. Only members of the hearing panel may ask questions, and there will be no cross-examination of persons presenting statements. However, questions submitted to the presiding officer in writing may, at the discretion of the presiding officer, be posed to the presenter. No formal rules of evidence will apply to the hearing.

Any further procedural rules for the proper conduct of the hearing will be announced by the presiding officer.

Special Accommodations

This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be received by the Department of Commerce no later than June 22, 2018 by contacting the Department of Commerce official identified in this Notice.

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Dated: May 24, 2018.

Wilbur L. Ross,

Secretary of Commerce.

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[FR Doc. 2018-11708 Filed 5-25-18; 4:15 pm]

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